A powerful 7.6-magnitude quake has hit about five miles northeast of Samara, Costa Rica, reports the US Geological Survey, which initially pegged the magnitude at 7.9. It was the largest quake to hit the country since one of the same magnitude struck in 1991, killing 47, reports Reuters. Samara is located on the Pacific side of the country, some 90 miles west of San Jose. Even at that distance, a Reuters correspondent observed rattling buildings and power outages in parts of the capital.
Though there were no reports of damage there, a geographer tells the AP, "There's chaos in San Jose because it was a strong earthquake of long duration ... and caused collective chaos." Closer to its epicenter, officials are struggling to access the earthquake zone, and are reportedly flying over the area to assess damage to roads and buildings. Due to the size of the quake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a warning for Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua. (Read more US Geological Survey stories.)