Monday, 4 June 2012

Strong Earthquake to the south of Panama.

On Sunday 3 June 2012, at 10.15 pm local time (3.15 am on Monday 4 June, GMT), an Earthquake struck 325 km off the south coast of Panama, measured by the United States Geological Survey as measuring 6.4 on the Richter Scale and occurring at a depth of 5.9 km. There are no reports of any damage or injuries, but is was felt in coastal regions, and in some places apparently caused some degree of alarm. No tsunami warning has been issued. 

Map showing the location of the quake. Rings reflect the intensity of shaking. USGS.

Panama lies on a tectonic microplate known as the Panama Plate or Panama Block, which has broken away from the North American Plate within the last 20 million years, and is now caught between the Caribbean, Cocos, Nazca and South American Plates. The southern margin of this is both a convergent and a transform margin, as the Nazca Plate moves past the Panama plate in a westerly direction, but is also being partially subducted beneath Panama. It was on this margin that the 3 June quake occurred.

Map showing the location and directions of movement of the Caribbean (CA), Cocos (CO), Nazca (NZ) and Panama (PB) Plates. The Panama Fracture Zone (PFZ) separates the Cocos and Nazca Plates. The Cocos Ridge, Coiba Ridge (CR) and Malpelo Ridge (MRi) are areas of seafloor extension. Morell et al. (2008).


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