Guatemala earthquake: Strong tremor strikes off the coast

PUBLISHED Thu, June 22, 2017 - 8:43am EDT
Credit: Google

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 has struck just off the coast of Guatemala, centered near Puerto San Jose, seismologists and residents say. Only few details were immediately available. (more)

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The earthquake, which struck at 6:31 a.m. local time on Thursday, was centered about 39 kilometers (24 miles) southwest of Puerto San José, or 75 kilometers (46 miles) southwest of Escuintla. It struck at a depth of just 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) put the preliminary magnitude of the earthquake at 6.8, while Guatemala's seismological agency put the magnitude at 6.7. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a tsunami.

The earthquake was widely felt across the region, including El Salvador and Mexico, but it was not immediately known if there was any major damage or casualties. Photos from various communities in Guatemala showed damage to a number of buildings.

"It was strong and long. We went out to the street to protect ourselves," a resident in Fraijanes, about 98 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of the epicenter, told EMSC. Residents in the capital, Guatemala City, also reported feeling the earthquake.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales took to Twitter just minutes after the earthquake struck. "Please remain calm and be on alert for possible aftershocks, soon we will give more information," he said in a tweet.

The quake comes just a week after a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the Guatemala-Mexico border, killing at least 5 people.

Guatemala is on the so-called 'Pacific Ring of Fire', an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Guatemala in November 2012, killing at least 39 people.

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