A series of earthquakes shook Costa Rica Saturday, shattering windows and sending panicked Christmas shoppers into the streets. There were no reports of injuries.
At least six temblors struck, the strongest crumbling the wall of an empty prison and loosening chunks from the facade of a bank building. A 1,000-foot-wide landslide block a road west from San Jose.That temblor measured 5.7 on the Richter scale and was centered near the Panamanian border about 125 miles south of San Jose, said Bruce Presgrave, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.
But Victor Gonzalez, a spokesman for Costa Rica's National University Volcanic Service, put the epicenter at 27 miles west of San Jose near the city of Santiago Puriscal.
The quakes damaged businesses and shattered windows at several points across San Jose. Christmas shoppers rushed into the streets, some of them crying.
Five homes were considerably damaged in the city of Escazu on the outskirts of San Jose, radio reports said.
The first temblor occurred at 11:20 a.m. local time (10:20 a.m. MST), but was barely felt.
The stongest quake hit the capital eight minutes later, briefly cutting off telephone and electric service. Another shock followed immediately. After a fourth quake, about an hour later, people continued their shopping.
Two more aftershocks were recorded.