A 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Costa Rica at 8:42am this morning, centering in Nosara, western Costa Ric,a about 87 miles from San Jose. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said that the quake was felt as far away as Managua, the capital of neighboring Nicaragua.
There are no reports of injury so far, however many countries were on a tsunami warning, including Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru.
Costa Rican President, Laura Chinchilla, said on her official Twitter account that, “there are no reports of loss of life or structural damage so far.” However, the city of San Jose was shaken up and citizens were frightened by the strength of the quake.
It was the biggest earthquake in Costa Rica since a 7.6 quake in 1991 left 47 dead, The Chicago Tribune reported. More recently, 40 people died in a 6.1 magnitude quake in January 2009.
How does a tsunami occur? How do we know when to shred, or run?
Let’s start with the basics. Also known as a seismic sea wave, a tsunami is a collection of extremely large waves created by earthquakes occurring below or near the ocean floor, in addition to volcanic eruptions and landslides. The waves from a tsunami can spread throughout the ocean with speeds exceeding 500 miles per hour. The unique part about these waves is that they generally have exceptionally long wait times of 10 min to 1 hour and even distances of up to 60 miles apart.
The most frightening part of tsunamis is when they decide to head to the shoreline. The tsunami waves begin to slow down as they reach the coastline and the water stacks up, creating a huge wall of destruction with potential to reach over 100ft (International Tsunami Information Center).
And the question arrises… to surf, or not to surf? According to the University of Hawaii, it’s probably not the most appealing adventure seeing that the wave you will be paddling into has no face and is full of garbage, parking meters, pieces of building, dead animals and whatever else the seismic wave dominates in it’s path. Plus, you can’t even duck dive through the wave because the entire water column is in motion with the trough being 100 miles away.
Best option? Run, and look for higher ground! If by chance you start seeing the tide go out crazy far, then that is a pretty good sign you should get out of there. Remember, tsunamis definitely move faster than we can run, so the sooner you bail, the better!
As of 10:30 am, September 5th, Tsunami warnings have been called off until further notice. Check back on TheSurfChannel.com as we bring you updates from the natural distaster.
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