Earthquake Damage In Costa Rica Less Than Feared

Image: USGS
This map of Costa Rica highlights the strength and location of a recent earthquake. Image: USGS

Thank goodness for Costa Rica’s strict building codes. They ensure that its buildings are extremely sturdy and well built. That helps account for the relatively small amount of damage the Central American country suffered after a powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake last Wednesday.

The earthquake took place about 140 kms west of the country’s capital, San Jose.

In 1991, another 7.6-magnitude earthquake shook the country but it caused a lot of damage. This time, Costa Rica was saved by its new and updated building standards.

While many Costa Rican buildings used to be built from mud and adobe, they are now built from concrete and steel. The country’s anti-earthquake standards have been updated a number of times, including as recently as last year.

Wednesday’s quake was quite far underground—about 41 kms—which means that although it was felt over a wider area, it was not as dangerous as it would have been if it was closer to the surface.

After the earthquake there were more than 600 aftershocks. An aftershock is a smaller earthquake tremor, following a major one.

A second earthquake, this time at a magnitude of 5.6, struck three days after the first one, in roughly the same spot.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Costa Rica learned from their history of earthquakes how to prepare themselves should it ever happen again. They were able to make changes that made them successful. Brainstorm three moments when you learned from a problem, made important changes, and became successful. 

Reading Prompt: Text Features
How do the image and table add to your understanding of today’s story? What other types of images would you like to see with today’s article? Why?

Primary & Junior
Identify a variety of text features and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.3).

Identify a variety of text features and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.3).

Grammar Feature: Numbers
Today’s article contains many numbers. Some are written as digits while others are written as words. But how do you know when to use digits and when to use words? The rule is that when numbers are less than ten and do not contain a decimal, writers write them as words. Accordingly, when a number is greater than ten, it’s written with digits.

Can you be our editor? Underline all of the digits in today’s article and circle all of the number words to make sure we got it right!