Strong earthquake shakes southern Costa Rica

  (Los Angeles Times)

A strong earthquake shook southern Costa Rica on Friday evening, toppling items from store shelves and knocking out power in places, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the quake had a magnitude of 6.1 and struck at 5:22 p.m. local time at a depth of about 12 miles. Its epicenter was about 12 miles north of the town of Golfito, near the Panama border.

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Ellery Quesada, a journalist with Channel 9 in Palmar Norte, near the epicenter, told the Associated Press that the quake was felt strongly in the region.

"We have reports that in Puerto Jimenez the power was out and some power poles toppled," Quesada said by phone, adding that aftershocks were felt in the minutes afterward.

The USGS recorded at least one aftershock, with a magnitude of 4.9.

Costa Rica's National System for Monitoring Tsunamis ruled out a tsunami alert.

In Panama, civil defense officials said via Twitter that the quake was felt strongly in the border provinces of Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro, though there were no immediate reports of damage.

Panamanian media reported that it was felt at a stadium in the city of David, where a youth baseball championship game was being played, but play was not halted.

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