A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 struck Northwestern Nicaragua close to the Honduran border on Thursday night.
According to the USGS the quake struck some 25 kilometers from the cities of Chinandega and El Viejo at a depth of 10 kilometers at 9:25 p.m. local time.
They initially reported that the quake had a magnitude of 6.4 but later downgraded it to a 6.1.
The government shut schools in the cities of Leon and Chinandega and according to reports the quake forced hospital patients in Chinandega to spend the night in the open on gurneys.
— Nohelia González (@ngonzalezv) June 10, 2016
Tremors were also felt in neighboring Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica.
Within 20 minutes of the initial jolt, the same area was hit by 5.1, 4.8 and 4.6 aftershocks.
“The quake was felt almost throughout the country,” said Nicaragua government spokeswoman, Rosario Murillo, according to La Prensa. She described it as a “huge earthquake, unusually strong.”
— Canal 4 Nicaragua (@Canal4Ni) June 10, 2016
According to geologist Eduardo Mayorga, the earthquake occurred northeast of the San Cristobal volcano, the highest in Nicaragua and one of the most active. San Cristobal, also known as El Viejo, has had frequent ash eruptions observed since the 16th Century.
Mayorga told La Prensa that it remains “to be seen whether this affects in any way the [San Cristobal] volcano.”
Locals said they felt the ground shaking for an extended period with tremors reaching El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica.
“Very very strong. And it continues to shake,” a resident of Chinandega told BNO News.
No casualties or damage have been reported so far.