A major earthquake struck just off the Pacific coast of Central America Monday night, killing one person and prompting fears of a tsunami along the Pacific coast of Central America. Evacuations were ordered for at least two coastal communities in Nicaragua, and authorities in El Salvador were also on high alert for earthquake damage and the potential for a tsunami.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the magnitude-7.3 temblor struck offshore about 42 miles west of Jiquilillo, Nicaragua, at 9:51 p.m. local time (11:51 p.m. EDT). The epicenter was also within 55 miles of the coast of neighboring El Salvador. A magnitude-5.0 aftershock followed 10 minutes later.
The quake was felt widely across the region, with shaking reported in Guatemala, southern Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, western Panama, and far southeastern Mexico according to the USGS.
El Salvador's civil protection agency confirmed that a man was killed by a falling utility pole in that country, but did not provide any further details.
Officials in El Salvador also issued a tsunami warning for its coastline and said it would remain in effect through Tuesday morning. The country's civil protection agency said there have been no reports of changes in sea level along the coast. However, the earthquake itself caused minor damage to at least 12 homes in the department of Usulutan.