2009 Costa Rica earthquake

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2009 Costa Rica earthquake
2009 Costa Rica earthquake is located in Central America
2009 Costa Rica earthquake
Date January 8, 2009 (2009-01-08)
Origin time 19:21:35 UTC [1]
Magnitude 6.1 Mw [1]
Depth 12.5 km (7.8 mi) [1]
Epicenter 10°14′N 84°13′W / 10.23°N 84.22°W / 10.23; -84.22Coordinates: 10°14′N 84°13′W / 10.23°N 84.22°W / 10.23; -84.22 [1]
Type Oblique-slip [2]
Areas affected Costa Rica
Max. intensity VII (Very Strong) [2]
Casualties 34 dead, 91 injured,[3] 64 missing[4]

The 2009 Costa Rica earthquake (also known as Cinchona earthquake) occurred at 1:21:35 pm local time on January 8 with a moment magnitude of 6.1 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very Strong). The shock took place in northern Costa Rica, 30 kilometres (19 mi) north-northwest of San José and was felt throughout Costa Rica and in southern central Nicaragua.


A house collapsed after earthquake.
Landslide seen from a helicopter.

The earthquake took at least 34 lives,[4] including at least three children, left about 64 people missing,[4] and injured at least 91.[3] Hundreds of people were trapped and two villages were cut off.[5] Most of the victims died when a landslide occurred near the La Paz waterfall by the Poás Volcano, and 452 people including 369 tourists were evacuated from the area in helicopters.[6] 1,244 people were displaced in the immediate aftermath.[4][7] In addition, a hotel, houses, roads, and vehicles were damaged, and several bridges were also destroyed.[6] The town of Cinchona was heavily hit, and all of the buildings there were heavily damaged.[8] Power was temporarily disrupted in San José.[2]


The Costa Rican Red Cross sent at least 400 people to assist in the recovery.[7] The agency said, "Some 42 communities were affected and sustained serious impacts on civil and electrical infrastructure... [They] are going to need a lot of help."[7] Four helicopters were also dispatched in order to help aid efforts.[7] The Comisión Nacional de Emergencias (National Emergency Commission) requested private helicopters to help with the aid.[9] Additionally, the United States and Colombia dispatched helicopters with aid to assist with the relief and recovery efforts.[10]

About 2,000 aftershocks were felt throughout Costa Rica.[4]

On January 12, President Oscar Arias declared a five-day period of national grieving out of respect for the victims, and asked the organizers of the Fiestas de Palmares to postpone them.

On January 13, the Banco de Costa Rica announced that it would offer home financing credit to homeowners who want to rebuild or fix their home.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d ISC (2015), ISC-GEM Global Instrumental Earthquake Catalogue (1900-2009), Version 2.0, International Seismological Centre 
  2. ^ a b c USGS. "M6.1 - Costa Rica". United States Geological Survey. 
  3. ^ a b "Costa Rica contabiliza 18 muertos y 56 desaparecidos por terremoto". La Prensa Gráfica. 2009-01-10. Archived from the original on 16 January 2009. Retrieved January 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "34 dead, dozens missing from Costa Rica quake". CNN News. January 11, 2009. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2009. 
  5. ^ "Four killed in strong Costa Rica quake, tourists trapped". The Age. 2009-01-09. Archived from the original on 17 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  6. ^ a b Benavides, Roger (2009-01-09). "Tourists evacuated after fatal Costa Rica quake". Reuters. Archived from the original on 16 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  7. ^ a b c d Sabo, Eric; Robin Stringer (2008-01-09). "Costa Rica Earthquake Rescuers Try to Help Thousands (Update1)". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  8. ^ Jimenez, Marianela (2008-01-09). "Death toll in Costa Rica quake rises to 5 victims". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 24 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  9. ^ "13 Dead, Many More Missing In Afternoon 6.2 Earthquake". InsideCostaRica. 2009-01-09. Archived from the original on 16 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Garnica, Vanessa I. "Costa Rica, Nicaragua Daily News." Costa Rica Newspaper, The Tico Times, News, Costa Rica Real Estate, Travel – Costa Rica News, Costa Rica Earthquake. 13 Jan. 2009. <http://www.ticotimes.net/dailyarchive/2009_01/0115092.htm>.