The coast of Costa Rica was struck on 5 September 2012 at 08:42 a.m. local time by a major earthquake with the epicenter located in the Nicoya Península. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) indicated a magnitude of 7.6. on the Richter scale. The epicenter is located very close to the surface, approximately in a depth of 10 kilometres. A tsunami warning was in effect for Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre but it was cancelled two and a half hours later based on data gathered from tide gauges. A map displaying the epicenter was provided by Geographer Douglas Salgado from the National Emergency Commission of Costa Rica (CNE).
The CNE (National Emergency Comission) declared a red alert in all the country and requested to the Municipal Emergency Committees:
- To elaborate a report regarding the main effects and casualties
- To review the supplies and request more supplies if necessary
- To watch over the affected areas
- To pay attention to the requirements and requests regarding the affected populations.
CNE is conducting a damage assessment and CATHALAC, UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office (RSO) in Panama has tasked NASA's EO-1 satellite to acquire satellite imagery of the areas affected by the earthquake. UN-SPIDER has additionally contacted its RSO in Colombia (IGAC) and CONAE in Argentina.