El Salvador earthquake: Strong tremor hits off La Libertad

PUBLISHED Wed, January 03, 2018 - 8:50am EST
Credit: Google

A strong earthquake (sismo) with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 has struck off the coast of La Libertad in El Salvador, officials and residents say. Shaking has been felt in San Salvador, Santa Ana and other parts of the country.

The earthquake, which struck at 7:38 a.m. local time on Wednesday, was centered just off the coast of La Libertad, according to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN). It put the preliminary magnitude at 5.8.

The epicenter was located in the ocean, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) southwest of La Libertad and 49 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of San Salvador. Short but strong shaking was felt across the region, as far as San Salvador and Santa Ana.

There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.

"I woke up scared but thank God it was nothing serious," one resident in Ilopango, which is about 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the epicenter, told the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, which put the preliminary magnitude at 5.2.

"It felt strong in Antiguo Cuscatlán and lasted about 15 seconds," another resident said.

El Salvador 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 powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck about 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Puerto El Triunfo in January 2001, killing at least 844 people and injuring more than 4,700 others.

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