SNU students are safe and were unaffected by the 6.1 magnitude earthquake reported by the Seccion de Sismología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica and the United States Geological Survey shortly after 1:00 PM on Thursday, January 8, 2009. News agencies reported that 13 persons had been killed in landslides, which created concern among family and friends of two groups of SNU students in Costa Rica at the time.
Students in the QERC semester program and a group studying astronomy were both in Costa Rica at the time. Mark Winslow's astronomy class was visiting the Arenal Volcano about 40 miles NW away from the epicenter. Much of Costa Rica's landscape has been shaped by tectonic activity associated with the Cocos and Caribbean tectonic plate boundary upon which the country sits. Seismologists reported that the earthquakes epicenter occurred about 30 km NNW of San Jose near Poas Volcano. Volcanos and earthquakes are both geological events associated with plate boundaries.
Sarah Hille, a manager at QERC, reported that there should be no problems associated with the return of Dr. Winslow and his students.
Earthquakes of the magnitude that shook Costa Rica are considered strong earthquakes and may cause a lot of damage in populated areas. In mountainous Costa Rica, steep slopes may give way as landslides. That is what killed tourists visiting the La Paz waterfall at the epicenter of the earthquake.
More information about this earthquake is currently available on the USGS Website.
Sat, January 10, 2009
by Dennis Williams filed under