Strong quake in Caribbean shakes Honduras, Mexico and Belize, no tsunami

The quake's epicentre was said to be under the sea north of Honduras, and a tsunami warning has been issued.
The quake's epicentre was said to be under the sea north of Honduras, and a tsunami warning has been issued.PHOTO: USGS

TEGUCIGALPA (REUTERS) - An earthquake of magnitude 7.6 that struck near remote islands belonging to Honduras on Tuesday was felt across northern Central America but there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

The quake rattled windows in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa roughly 520km to the east and was felt at least as far north as the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, but no damage was immediately reported.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially warned that tsunami waves up to 1 metre above tide level could hit parts of Honduras, Belize and Puerto Rico along with the US and British Virgin Islands.  About two hours after the quake, the centre said the threat had passed, withdrawing all tsunami advisories connected with the quake.

Rodrigo Anaya Rodriguez was in a hammock inside his house near popular tourist site Bacalar Lake on Mexico's Caribbean coast in Quintana Roo when he felt three tremors.

"It felt like a bulldozer was driving past," he said. "It didn't last long but was very violent." He ran to his balcony and saw electricity posts and cables swaying.

In Honduras, firefighters said some residents in southern neighbourhoods fled their homes after feeling the shaking.

"We have reports that it was felt in the majority of the country, but we don't have reports of damage," said Lizandro Rosales, director of Honduras' contingencies commission.

The US Geological Survey said the quake, initially reported as a magnitude 7.8, was centred 202 km northeast of Barra Patuca in Honduras and 307km southwest of George Town in the Cayman Islands.

The quake was very shallow, at only 10km, which would have amplified its effect.

It was lightly felt in Belize's capital, Belize City, but did not prompt immediate reports of damage.

Belize's minister in charge of emergency management, Edmond Castro, spoke on local radio to urge people living in low lying coastal areas and islands to stay alert for potentially dangerous waves.