Powerful earthquake rocks Costa Rica; damage, but no death reported

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NOSARA, Costa Rica -- A powerful, magnitude-7.6 earthquake shook Costa Rica and a wide swath of Central America today, collapsing some houses, blocking highways and causing panic, but there were no immediate reports of deaths.

The USGS said the 5:42 a.m. quake struck about 38 miles from the town of Liberia, centered about 25 miles below the surface.

In the town of Hojancha near the epicenter, city official Kenia Campos said the quake knocked down some houses and landslides blocked several roads.

There were no initial reports of damage or deaths in the capital of San Jose, said Douglas Salgado, a geographer with Costa Rica's National Commission of Risk Prevention and Emergency Attention.

A tsunami warning was in effect for Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin.

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