Strong quake hits Costa Rica-Panama border, likely 'significant damage': USGS

The 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck at a depth of 10km, close to the border with Costa Rica near La Esperanza, Panama.
The 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck at a depth of 10km, close to the border with Costa Rica near La Esperanza, Panama.PHOTO: USGS

SAN JOSE (AFP) - A 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit the Panama-Costa Rica border around midnight on Tuesday (June 25), the US Geological Survey said, with the potential to cause casualties and "significant damage".

The shallow quake struck at a depth of 10km, about 2km from the nearest town of Progreso in Panama, the USGS said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, but US seismologists said the disaster was "potentially widespread", with the USGS website pointing out that "past events with this alert level have required a regional or national level response".

"Estimated economic losses are 0-4 per cent GDP of Panama," the website said.

According to the National Seismological Network (RSN) in Costa Rica, the quake struck at 0523 GMT on Wednesday (11.23 pm on Tuesday) with its epicentre located 11km east of the Panamanian border town of Puerto Armuelles.

The tremor was felt in Costa Rica's capital San Jose and in many parts of the Central American country, according to initial reports, but the national tsunami warning system said there was no risk of a tsunami.

In November 2017, a 6.5-magnitude quake on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica caused buildings to sway in San Jose and contributed to the deaths of two people, who had heart attacks.

Further north, two months earlier, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake killed more than 300 people in Mexico.