Earthquake Magnitude 5.6 Strikes Guabito, Panama


A medium sized earthquake, magnitude 5.6 struck seven miles southwest of
Guabito, Panama Monday morning.  The sparsely populated area is near the border of Costa Rica.

The relatively mild quake hit just before sunrise.  There were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

The Caribbean plate is complex and diverse.  The area is affected by four major plates, North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos.  They contain deep ocean trenches, and a string of volcanoes.  Combined with a seismic crust in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench, there is a natural “pull apart” phenomenon.

Along the northern part of the Caribbean plate, the North American plate is gradually moving away, creating a fissure between the two.  The slow but steady separation has helped to create the Puerto Rico trench.  Although this trench has the possibility of producing “megaquakes”, none have been reported in the last century.

Today’s earthquake occurred along a fault line that runs north and south from the border of the two countries, Panama and Costa Rica, extending into the southern Pacific Ocean.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express