A strong 7.9 earthquake rocked Costa Rica on Wednesday, rattling buildings and cutting power in some areas of the capital of San Jose, a Reuters correspondent and the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
The quake hit close to Samara, a coastal area on the Pacific some 151 kms (94 miles) from the capital city. The USGS said the quake struck offshore, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the town of Liberia.
A tsunami watch was in effect for much of the Caribbean, including along the coastlines of Brazil, Mexico, most countries in Central America and many islands.
"Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the Caribbean region," the U.S. government said.
AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS
ORIGIN TIME - 1442Z 05 SEP 2012
COORDINATES - 9.9 NORTH 85.5 WEST
LOCATION - OFF COAST OF COSTA RICA
MAGNITUDE - 7.9