Yesterday, April 10th, 2013 a 6.1 magnitude earthquake shook the northern shore of Nicaragua’s Lake Managua, after which a 5.1 magnitude aftershock hit about 20 miles south.
Earthquakes are fairly common along Nicaragua’s western coast, as it sits at the boundary between two tectonic plates, the Cocos plate and the Caribbean plate. Despite the relatively strong magnitude of yesterday’s earthquake, there were only 23 reported injuries and no deaths. The last two earthquakes in the region were in 2004 and 2005, in which there were also no reported deaths.
Despite the relatively higher frequency of earthquakes in Nicaragua than in many other countries and regions, the low number of deaths indicates a particular and realistic preparedness by the people of Nicaragua. It also indicates a few other factors, which combine to make the region, and population, very resilient to the Earth’s natural tremors and shakes.
Firstly, much of the construction in Nicaragua is done with natural materials, as opposed to more popular western materials like concrete which cracks, so when a structure is shaken there is more give with which to absorb the shock. Secondly, the majority of architecture throughout Nicaragua relatively low in height, so there aren’t the same issues of huge buildings crashing down, as there are in some other countries. Thirdly, there is generally a reduced amount of excess weight in the buildings, as many people opt for natural shade and cooling methods, as oppose to larger, heavier, more expensive air-conditioning and cooling infrastructures.
There are certain dangers associated with being in any place, and as long as you’re aware, prepared and willing to be flexible, you’re very likely to fare well in the event of any unexpected occurrence!
We send good wishes and positive thoughts to all the people of Nicaragua affected by the earthquake!