The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 4.8 Earthquake at a depth of 76.5 km, about 25 km offshore of the Padre Ramos estuary on the coast of Chinandega Department, Nicaragua, slightly after 5.00 pm local time (slightly after 11.00 pm GMT) on Tuesday 17 October 2017. There are no reports of any damage or casualties associated with this event, though it was felt in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
The approximate location of the 17 October 2017 Padre Ramos Earthquake. USGS.
Nicaragua is located on the southern part of the Caribbean Plate, close to its boundary with the Cocos Plate, which underlies part of the east Pacific. The Cocos Plate is being pushed northwards by expansion of the crust along the East Pacific Rise, and is subducted beneath the Caribbean Plate along the Middle American Trench, which runs parallel to the south coast of Central America, passing under the peninsula as it sinks into the Earth's interior. This is not a smooth process, the plates tend to stick together, breaking apart again once the pressure from the northward movement of the Cocos Plate builds up to much, triggering Earthquakes.
Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.
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