News24

Quake sparks tsunami alert

2009-05-28 11:39

Washington - A powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck just off the northern coast of Honduras early on Thursday, sparking a tsunami alert for three Central American countries, the US Geological Survey said.

The earthquake struck 130km north of the coastal town of La Ceiba at 08:24 GMT, the USGS said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a local tsunami watch for Honduras, Belize and Guatemala following the quake.

"There is a possibility of a local tsunami that could affect coasts located usually no more than a hundred kilometres from the earthquake epicentre," the centre said.

"Regions near the epicentre should be aware of this possibility. Areas further from the epicentre could experience small sea level changes and strong or unusual coastal currents."

However it noted that a "destructive widespread tsunami threat does not exist based on historical earthquake and tsunami data".

The USGS measured the quake's depth at 10km, and said it occurred 63km northeast of Roatan on the Isles de la Bahia in the Caribbean Sea.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.