Magnitude 7.6 earthquake at sea off Honduras triggers tsunami warnings, no casualties reported

Updated 2018-01-11 13:31:00 Xinhua

There were no reports of casualties or severe damage yet as one of the strongest earthquakes in recent records to hit the Caribbean region struck late Tuesday off the northern coast of Honduras, triggering warnings of tsunami which didn't materialize.

The epicenter of the tremor, striking at 10:51 p.m. local time (0251 GMT Wednesday) and measuring 7.6 magnitude, was registered in the sea about 125 miles (202 km) north-northeast of Barra Patuca, Honduras, and 188 miles (303 km) southwest of George Town, Cayman Islands.

The United States Geological Service (USGS) feared that the quake's effect could amplify since it was a shallow one occurring at about 6 miles (10 km) below.

However, there have been no reports of serious damage on land in Honduras, only some cracks in homes in Colon and Atlantida provinces along the northern coast and Olancho in the east, according to media reports.

The Honduran authorities said shaking had been felt across much of the Central American nation.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said on Twitter that the country had activated the emergency system and asked people to remain calm. He also suggested that people "follow all instructions" by Honduras' Permanent Commission of Contingencies, known as COPECO.

The USGS marked the earthquake by reference to Honduras' Great Swan Island, which is some 25 miles (44 km) away from the epicenter.

The country has a small navy post stationed on the unpopulated island and it is not known to what extent the military facilities there have been affected.

Following the earthquake, the COPECO issued a 12-hour tsunami warning for Honduras' four coastal and island provinces, including Gracias a Dios, Colon, Atlantida and Islas de la Bahia, according to the agency's official Twitter account.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued its first tsunami alert about half an hour after the quake hit, saying waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meters above the tide level were possible for some coasts of Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, Cayman Islands and Jamaica.

The warning lasted for a little more than an hour until the Center said there was no longer a tsunami threat from this earthquake and stopped the updates.

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