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Powerful Earthquake Strikes off El Salvador Coast

Aug 27, 2012 08:08 AM EDT

A major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 hit an area in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of El Salvador, according to reports from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The USGS report said that the powerful tremor occurred 69 miles (111 kilometers) south of the city Puerto El Triunfo in El Salvador. While the initial reports suggested the earthquake's magnitude to be 7.4, it was later revised to 7.3 by the USGS.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued the alert to all Central American countries including Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Mexico Sunday after a temblor took place at a depth of 36 miles (56 kilometers).

David Walsh, oceanographer with the Pacific Tsunami Centre in Hawaii, said that a 3.94 inch (10cm) tsunami was registered off Acajutla, El Salvador, reported the Associated Press.

"We are doing a general monitoring of the entire coast through our technicians and representatives," Alfonso Lara, a technician with El Salvador's Civil Protection agency, told AP.

The tsunami alert was later cancelled for all the areas. There were no reports of damage or injury.

El Salvador, which is one of the smallest and densely populated countries, lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, where large number of tectonic activity takes place in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. Hence, the country is often susceptible to large number of earthquakes and volcanic activity frequently.

The largest earthquakes occurred in the country in 2001, when two quakes hit the region in just a span of one month- first one in January followed by another in February. At least 315 people were killed in the disaster that occurred in February.

Sunday's incident wasn't the first earthquake to have been reported in the region. The 7.3 magnitude earthquake followed a magnitude-5.4 aftershock that was recorded there.

In similar incidents, a series of moderate earthquakes rocked southeastern California, causing some damage to the properties. According to AP reports, more than 30 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.3 hit the same area in the southern end of the Salton Sea Sunday.

The largest quake recorded was the one with a magnitude of 5.5 that struck at a region that was about three miles northwest of Brawley, Robert Graves, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told AP.

According to scientists, the jolts caused by the earthquakes could last for days.

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