Sunday, April 26, 2015

MONUMENTAL DISASTER IMPACT: Over 2,500 Dead In Nepal Earthquake As Aftershocks Terrify Survivors - Dozens Of Bodies Being Cremated; Hundreds Feared Still Buried Under Rock Falls; Search And Rescue Teams Deployed; Massive Aid Underway! [LATEST UPDATES]

A Buddha statue is surrounded by debris from a collapsed temple in the UNESCO world heritage site of Bhaktapur on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal.
Photograph: Omar Havana/Getty Images

April 26, 2015 - KATHMANDU, NEPAL
- The death toll from the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday has risen to more than 2,500. More than 5,000 people have been injured. Powerful aftershocks today between Kathmandu and Everest unleashed more avalanches in the Himalayas and caused panic in the capital, where hospital workers stretchered patients out into the street as it was too dangerous treat them indoors.

Acrid, white smoke rose above the nation's most revered Hindu temple, where dozens of bodies were being cremated at any given time.

Landslides hindered rescue teams that tried to use mountain trails to reach those in need, said Prakash Subedi, chief district official in the Gorkha region, where the quake was centred.

"Villages like this are routinely affected by landslides, and it's not uncommon for entire villages of 200, 300, up to 1,000 people to be completely buried by rock falls," said Matt Darvas, a member of the aid group World Vision. "It will likely be helicopter access only."


Devastating Nepal quake kills over 2,500 http://bit.ly/1bEyD96
  (Photo: Reuters)

At least 17 people believed to have been killed on Everest, and 61 injured, by an avalanche which left mountaineers calling for helicopter assistance to evacuate the most badly wounded.

The UK government has announced that it will donate £5m to help the rescue effort in Nepal.

A state of emergency has been declared Many historic landmarks, including the Dharahara tower, have been reduced to rubble following the quake.

Governments are scrambling to locate thousands of their nationals and relatives took to social media to find their loved ones.


People gather near the cracks on the road caused by Saturday's earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal. (Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters)

The international community has also pledged support and aid packages to Nepal. The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has said the US will pledge $1m to the aid effort and will also assist with a disaster response team. Australia has also pledged a Aus$5m aid package, while India, Sri Lanka, the UK, China and others are all sending disaster response teams to assist in search and rescue.

Pope Francis led prayers in St Peter’s Square for the dead, displaced and injured in Nepal and surrounding areas.

Weather reports suggested that survivors of the quake - who are sleeping outside because of fear of unsafe building - will face heavy downpours in the next week.

The quakes caused widespread damage to Nepal’s infrastructure which has further hampered search and rescue operations. Injured climbers at Mount Everest, where an avalanche struck following the quake, have been flown by helicopter to receive medical treatment.
Nepal authorities said Sunday that at least 2,430 people in that country had died in Nepal alone, not including the 18 people that the Nepal Mountaineering Association says died in an earthquake-triggered avalanche on Mount Everest. Another 61 people died from the quake in India and a few in other neighboring countries.  With search and rescue efforts far from over, it was unclear how much the death toll would rise.

Some shocking CCTV footage, which shows the moment aftershocks hit in Tibet after Nepal earthquake.

WATCH: Surveillance footage of several aftershocks in Tibet on the same day Nepal was hit by a devastating magnitude 7.9 earthquake. The footage, shot on Saturday, shows roads and buildings shaking violently in Gyirong county, which neighbours Nepal.



Reuters have this report on how doctors are having to operate on injured victims of the quake in the streets because of fear of reentering unsafe buildings:
Overwhelmed doctors moved hundreds of patients onto the streets of Nepal’s capital on Sunday when aftershocks rattled hospitals and buildings already damaged by an earthquake that killed more than 2,400 people and devastated Kathmandu valley.

Sick and wounded people lay on a dusty road outside Kathmandu Medical College while hospital workers carried more patients out of the building on stretchers and sacks.

Doctors set up an operating theatre inside a tent and rushed in the most critical, following a particularly big tremor that sent people running terrified into the streets.

The aftershock, itself a strong 6.7 magnitude quake, triggered more avalanches in the Himalayas after Saturday’s 7.9 quake - which unleashed Everest’s worst disaster and was the strongest since 1934 when 8,500 people were killed.

Outside the National Trauma Centre in Kathmandu, patients in wheelchairs who had been under treatment before the earthquake hit joined hundreds of injured with fractured and bloody limbs, who lay inside tents made from hospital sheets.

“We only have one operation theatre here. To be able to provide immediate treatment we require 15 theatres. I am just not able to cope,” said Dipendra Pandey, an orthopaedic surgeon, adding he had done 36 critical operations since Saturday.

Relief agencies and officials said most hospitals were overflowing and short on medical supplies.

“Both private and government hospitals have run out of space and are treating patients outside, in the open,” said Nepal’s envoy to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyay.

Neighbouring countries sent in military transport planes laden with medical supplies, food and water. But little sign of organised relief efforts was visible as aid agencies struggled to fly helicopters in cloudy weather, aftershocks forced the intermittent closure of Kathmandu airport and roads were blocked by landslides.

The extent of the damage around the epicentre, near Gorkha in the western highlands, had still not been fully assessed.

Patchy mobile telephone and email communication added to the slow progress of relief as Asia’s poorest country reeled from its worst earthquake in eight decades.

As rescuers dug with their hands through the rubble of brick buildings in crowded Kathmandu, thousands of survivors prepared to spend a second rainy night outside because they were afraid of going back to damaged homes.

Dfid have issued a new press release with details of the aid that will be given to Nepal to help the rescue operation.

The Department for International Development has activated its rapid funding mechanism for charities and partners on the ground dealing with the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

This is part of a new £5 million package of UK support in response to the Nepal earthquake which includes:

£3 million released under the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) so partners can address immediate needs on the ground; and
£2 million for the British Red Cross.

UK Government officials in Kathmandu and London are providing consular assistance to British nationals who have been caught up in this disaster and the Foreign Office has opened a crisis hotline for those concerned about friends or family. Britain is also sending Rapid Deployment Teams to provide assistance to British nationals.

Justine Greening said:
“As the death toll rises and the scale of this devastating earthquake becomes evident, the UK is continuing to do everything it can to help all those affected by this tragedy.

“I have now activated the Rapid Response Facility. This means we can fast track funding to aid workers on the ground so they can provide desperately needed supplies including clean water, shelter, household items and blankets. We are also sending humanitarian experts from the UK to provide urgent support on the ground.

“Meanwhile UK Government officials in Kathmandu and London continue to provide assistance to British nationals who have been caught up in this disaster. We will continue to do everything we can to help all those affected.”

Jason Burke has been tweeting from the scene at Kathmandu

Power out in much of #kathmandu  but most people cheerful, scared and cooking dinner in gardens, streets, anywhere but inside. #quake

Saddest story of day: three girls playing cricket outside home. Buried in seconds, mother too. Dad survived no one knows whereabouts. #quake

He’s been speaking to officials in the Ghorka district, close to the epicentre, who say at the moment they only have two helicopters out for rescue operations.

Officials in ghorka district close to epicentre tell me half houses destroyed. Have got two helicopters up for rescue. That's all.
UK announce £5m funding for Nepal relief effort

International Development Secretary Justine #Greening announces £5m in UK funding to contribute towards relief effort #NepalEarthquake

Justine #Greening says the UK has deployed a team of humanitarian experts to #Nepal to provide support for those affected by the #earthquake

Dfid news release on humanitarian support:
The UK has deployed a team of humanitarian experts to Nepal to provide urgent humanitarian support for people affected by the earthquake, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

The eight-strong team of disaster response specialists, which includes experts in search and rescue, will travel to Nepal overnight tonight and begin work tomorrow assessing the scale of the damage and helping the Nepalese authorities direct the humanitarian response.

Justine Greening said:
My thoughts are with the people of Nepal, in particular all those who have lost loved ones. The absolute priority must be to reach people who are trapped and injured, and provide shelter and protection to those who have lost their homes.
Nepal needs our urgent humanitarian assistance. That is why we have rapidly deployed a team of humanitarian experts who will immediately begin work assessing the damage and helping the Nepalese authorities respond to this devastating earthquake.
Earlier, Reader Thirdness, whose daughter is in Lhasa, has asked if there is any information from Tibet.

This report from DNAIndia gives a few details, but not much.
Death toll in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region has risen to 17 in the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit neighbouring Nepal on Saturday, while the Communist giant on Sunday dispatched a 62-member search and rescue team to help the Himalayan nation.

Nearly 1,500 people, including two Indians, have died in Nepal and hundreds are feared missing, after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake tore through that country flattening houses and buildings including the iconic Dharhara tower and landmark Darbar Square in the heart of its capital. The death toll in Tibet has climbed to 17 after the powerful earthquake struck neighbouring Nepal, local authorities said today.

Meanwhile a 62-member search and rescue team has left for Nepal to carry out humanitarian rescue there. With six sniffer dogs and relevant rescue and medical equipment, the team is expected to arrive in Kathmandu midday today on a chartered plane, the China Earthquake Administration said. Of the rescuers, 40 are from the 38th Group Army of the People’s Liberation Army, Beijing Military Area Command.

Twenty percent of the experienced rescuers have participated in international rescue missions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday sent a message of condolence to Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav over the disastrous earthquake, worse in over 80 years of Nepal’s recorded history. On behalf of the Chinese government and people, as well as in his own name, Xi offered his deep condolences to the victims in the earthquake, and offered sincere sympathies to those injured as well as to the families of the victims.

In his message, the Chinese president also expressed his confidence in the Nepalese government, under the leadership of Yadav, to combat the disaster and China’s willingness to provide all necessary assistance. In Tibet the quake also damaged buildings and roads and cut off telecommunications in the two counties and several neighbouring regions. So far, roads leading to the two counties have been cleared, but rescue efforts are hampered by heavy snow in the area.

The temblor damaged several temples in Tibet’s border area, but no casualties have been reported from there so far. Chen Quanguo, Communist Party of China chief of Tibet, has ordered to evacuate people in the quake-hit regions to avoid further deaths and injuries from aftershocks and secondary disasters. About 600 border guards are currently involved in the rescue operation in Nyalam and Gyirong.

A total of 3,204 firefighters and 87 sniffer dogs from Tibet and neighbouring provinces have also been readied to go to the quake-struck areas as a reinforcement. The authorities are sending tents, quilts, clothes, medicine and bottled water to the regions.
This from reader Shashank Suman BTL about the Indian government’s efforts to help the rescue operation:
As part of the nation’s overall relief effort for Nepal, the Indian Army has launched Operation Maitri.

A Multi National Coordination Centre has been set up. In addition, in PPO Pokhra, Head quarters are being established for relief operations.

The following resources have been allocated so far as part of Operation Maitri, in support of the Nepalese Army’s relief effort:-

(a) 18 Medical Teams earmarked. Six Medical Teams have reached and have been deployed while the rest are on standby.
(b) 10 Engineer Task Forces(ETFs) consisting of manpower, skid steers and JCBs (One partial ETF has landed with stores. Balance are on standby in India).
(c) 10,000 blankets and 1,000 tents are on standby.
(d) 10 INMARSATs for satellite communications have reached Nepal.

Aviation assets of five ALH helicopters and two Cheetah helicopters have been staged forward to Gorakhpur.

“Further, taking cognizance of the request of the Nepalese Government for Oxygen on account of problems in the Kathmandu Oxygen plant, additional cylinders are being dispatched (300 located at Bengdubi for dispatch to Nepal),” read a statement.

Indian Army Everest Expedition was training at Base Camp when the Earth Quake struck. Their equipment was buried in the avalanche, however the team is safe and helped in recovery of dead bodies of other foreign climbers.

“19 dead bodies and 61 injured persons were rescued by the Indian Army Expedition Team,” read the statement

The Medical Officer has treated a number of injured international mountaineers.
DART members fly out
Canada is sending aid and disaster experts to the area. Defence Minister Jason Kenney told CBC News on Sunday evening an advance team of experts was already en route and is expected to be in Nepal by Monday night.

The team will assess the situation and determine how to deploy other resources including the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), the military unit that deals with natural disasters or humanitarian emergencies.

A shipment of emergency supplies and the first wave of DART members will depart CFB Trenton on Sunday evening, Kenney said — flying to Europe, Kuwait and then India, where they will wait until called into Nepal.

Nicholson's office said earlier Canada is sending $5 million to help relief efforts.

New footage from Kathmandu shows the aftermath of Saturday’s magnitude 7.9 earthquake with houses toppled and multi-storey apartments reduced to rubble.

WATCH: New footage from the day after a 7.9 earthquake hit Nepal shows the extent of the damage caused, and the situation facing survivors.




Long history of quakes

The quake occurred at the boundary between two pieces, or plates, of the Earth's crust, one of which supports India to the south and the other Eurasia to the north. The Indian plate is moving at 45 millimetres a year under the Eurasian plate, said Marin Clark, a geophysicist at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

So the quake was "definitely not a surprise," she said. Over millions of years, such quakes have led to the uplift of the Himalayas. Nepal suffered its worst recorded earthquake in 1934, which measured 8.0 and all but destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.




The power of Saturday's tremors brought down several buildings in the centre of the capital, the ancient Old Kathmandu, including centuries-old temples and towers.

Among them was the nine-storey Dharahara Tower, one of Kathmandu's landmarks built by Nepal's royal rulers as a watchtower in the 1800s and a UNESCO-recognized historical monument. It was reduced to rubble and there were reports of people trapped underneath.

The head of the UN cultural agency, Irina Bokova, said in a statement that UNESCO was ready to help Nepal rebuild from "extensive damage, including to historic monuments and buildings of the Kathmandu Valley."

- The Guardian | CBC.



PLANETARY TREMORS: "A Nightmare Waiting To Happen" - Deadly Nepal Quake Was Long Predicted By Seismologists, Based On Accumulated Seismic Energy; About 50 Researchers Had Gathered In Kathmandu To Prepare For The "BIG ONE," Just One Week Before The Devastating 7.9 Magnitude Earthquake!

People gather near a collapsed house after a major earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal (Reuters / Navesh Chitrakar)

April 26, 2015 - KATHMANDU, NEPAL
- Experts had been warning for years that a serious earthquake would decimate Nepal’s overpopulated capital. Specialists had been trying to work out a contingency plan for Kathmandu, in the event of an inevitable tremor however, they were not fast enough.

Saturday's devastating 7.9-magnitude earthquake, which claimed over 2,500 lives, was "sort of a nightmare waiting to happen," according to seismologist James Jackson, head of the earth sciences department at the University of Cambridge. “Physically and geologically, what happened is exactly what we thought would happen,” he told AP.

Jackson was one of about 50 earthquake researchers as well as social scientists who gathered in Kathmandu just a week ago to work out a way for the area to prepare for the “big one” they believed was imminent. They just didn't know when exactly it would hit.

"Calculations show that there is sufficient accumulated energy, now to produce an 8-magnitude earthquake." Vinod Kumar Gaur, a seismologist with the Center for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation, said in a 2013 interview with The Hindu. "I cannot say when. It may not happen tomorrow, but it could possibly happen sometime this century, or wait longer to produce a much larger one." It turned out it was coming much too soon, for any preparations to be put in place.

“They knew they had a problem but it was so large they didn’t know where to start, [or] how to start,” Hari Ghi, a Southeast Asia regional coordinator for Geohazards International, told AP. The main concern was the area's complicated geology combined with its urban area, which was growing too quickly and without earthquake safety standards.

The dangers had been felt in Kathmandu before. The previous earthquake in 1934, which was on par with Saturday's tremor, nearly levelled Kathmandu with a 8.2-magnitude force and killed up to 12,000 people.

Earthquakes of the same strength can cause widely different death tolls depending on where they happen. The US Geological Survey (USGS) calculates that a severe quake in California would kill from 10 to 30 people per million, while for countries like Nepal a tremor of the same magnitude would cause 1,000 deaths. In China, India, Iran and Pakistan the consequences would be even worse, with up to 10,000 deaths per million residents, according to USGS seismologist David Wald.

While earthquakes are natural disasters, the “consequences are very much man-made,” says Jackson, who is also the lead scientist of the Earthquakes Without Frontiers project. “It’s buildings that kill people, not earthquakes,” he added, explaining that "large urban populations are now concentrated in vulnerable places, which is why so many recent earthquakes look like bull’s eye targeting of cities." - RT.



FUK-U-SHIMA: Kids At Risk - Extremely High Soil Radiation Detected In Tokyo Playground; 2,000 TIMES Higher Than The Maximum Permitted Levels!

Workers of Tokyo's Toshima ward office carry away a container holding a fragment of an unknown object after it was dug up from the ground
near playground equipment at a park in Toshima ward, Tokyo April 24, 2015 (Reuters / Toru Hanai)

April 26, 2015 - JAPAN
- A playground in Tokyo turned out to be contaminated with radiation levels that 2,000 times exceed the maximums permitted in areas adjoining the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant. Authorities fear some children have been exposed to radiation influence.

The administrative office of Toshima ward in northwest Tokyo reported that soil probes showed 480 microsieverts per hour. Two hours of exposure at such levels would equal one year’s maximum allowable dose of radiation.

Radiation levels measured this month in Okuma, a town less than 20 km from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, are ranging from 0.7 to 23.2 microsieverts per hour.

“We are still checking what caused these elevated radiation levels and what type of radioactive substance it is,” Reuters quoted park representative Kyoko Tsujimura, stressing that radiation elsewhere in the park is low.

Authorities believe the incident has no connection to Fukushima disaster, as the contaminated area is not large.


Playground in Tokyo, #Japan closed after extremely high levels of radiation found http://bit.ly/1I2u5FR 

"Because the area in which we detect radioactivity is very limited, and readings in surrounding parts are normal, we suspect radioactive materials of some kind are buried there," AFP quoted local Mayor Yukio Takano’s statement.

The radiation-fouled area was a parking lot before being turned into park in 2013. To do so, new soil was brought in, the Toshima official said.

Now that the park is closed, experts are discussing elimination of the radiation spot and tracing the source of it.

"Many children play in the park daily, so the ward office should explain the situation," a 62-year-old local woman told Kyodo News, as quoted by the AFP.

Radioactivity contamination in the park was spotted by chance as the Japanese stay alert of radioactive contamination after the Fukushima meltdown and constantly measure radiation levels around their houses with personal radiation detectors. - RT.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.3 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Southern Costa Rica - Renewed Volcanic Activity At Turrialba! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]



April 26, 2015 - COSTA RICA
- In the latest seismological event to happen in Costa Rica this week, a magnitude 5.3 earthquake struck off the country's southern coast at 2:37 p.m. Saturday, the National Seismological Network (RSN) reported.

The quake's epicenter was 29.8 kilometers off the coast of Puerto Jiménez, Puntarenas, along the Cocos Plate.

It could be felt across southern Costa Rica and in parts of the capital, San José, according to an intensity map released by RSN.

There were no initial reports of damage.

Saturday's tremor followed a week of renewed volcanic activity at Turrialba Volcano, when several eruptions covered the Central Valley in ash and closed Juan Santamaría International Airport for several hours Thursday.

Earlier in April, two similar earthquakes shook the country on Good Friday with magnitudes of 4.8 and 5.2. - Tico Times.


Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Caribbean Region and Vicinity

Extensive diversity and complexity of tectonic regimes characterizes the perimeter of the Caribbean plate, involving no fewer than four major plates (North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos). Inclined zones of deep earthquakes (Wadati-Benioff zones), ocean trenches, and arcs of volcanoes clearly indicate subduction of oceanic lithosphere along the Central American and Atlantic Ocean margins of the Caribbean plate, while crustal seismicity in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench indicate transform fault and pull-apart basin tectonics.

Along the northern margin of the Caribbean plate, the North America plate moves westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at a velocity of approximately 20 mm/yr. Motion is accommodated along several major transform faults that extend eastward from Isla de Roatan to Haiti, including the Swan Island Fault and the Oriente Fault. These faults represent the southern and northern boundaries of the Cayman Trench. Further east, from the Dominican Republic to the Island of Barbuda, relative motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate becomes increasingly complex and is partially accommodated by nearly arc-parallel subduction of the North America plate beneath the Caribbean plate. This results in the formation of the deep Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of intermediate focus earthquakes (70-300 km depth) within the subducted slab. Although the Puerto Rico subduction zone is thought to be capable of generating a megathrust earthquake, there have been no such events in the past century. The last probable interplate (thrust fault) event here occurred on May 2, 1787 and was widely felt throughout the island with documented destruction across the entire northern coast, including Arecibo and San Juan. Since 1900, the two largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the August 4, 1946 M8.0 Samana earthquake in northeastern Hispaniola and the July 29, 1943 M7.6 Mona Passage earthquake, both of which were shallow thrust fault earthquakes. A significant portion of the motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate in this region is accommodated by a series of left-lateral strike-slip faults that bisect the island of Hispaniola, notably the Septentrional Fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault in the south. Activity adjacent to the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault system is best documented by the devastating January 12, 2010 M7.0 Haiti strike-slip earthquake, its associated aftershocks and a comparable earthquake in 1770.


 USGS plate tectonics for the region. (PDF)

Moving east and south, the plate boundary curves around Puerto Rico and the northern Lesser Antilles where the plate motion vector of the Caribbean plate relative to the North and South America plates is less oblique, resulting in active island-arc tectonics. Here, the North and South America plates subduct towards the west beneath the Caribbean plate along the Lesser Antilles Trench at rates of approximately 20 mm/yr. As a result of this subduction, there exists both intermediate focus earthquakes within the subducted plates and a chain of active volcanoes along the island arc. Although the Lesser Antilles is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the Caribbean, few of these events have been greater than M7.0 over the past century. The island of Guadeloupe was the site of one of the largest megathrust earthquakes to occur in this region on February 8, 1843, with a suggested magnitude greater than 8.0. The largest recent intermediate-depth earthquake to occur along the Lesser Antilles arc was the November 29, 2007 M7.4 Martinique earthquake northwest of Fort-De-France.

The southern Caribbean plate boundary with the South America plate strikes east-west across Trinidad and western Venezuela at a relative rate of approximately 20 mm/yr. This boundary is characterized by major transform faults, including the Central Range Fault and the Boconó-San Sebastian-El Pilar Faults, and shallow seismicity. Since 1900, the largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the October 29, 1900 M7.7 Caracas earthquake, and the July 29, 1967 M6.5 earthquake near this same region. Further to the west, a broad zone of compressive deformation trends southwestward across western Venezuela and central Colombia. The plate boundary is not well defined across northwestern South America, but deformation transitions from being dominated by Caribbean/South America convergence in the east to Nazca/South America convergence in the west. The transition zone between subduction on the eastern and western margins of the Caribbean plate is characterized by diffuse seismicity involving low- to intermediate-magnitude (Magnitude less than 6.0) earthquakes of shallow to intermediate depth.

The plate boundary offshore of Colombia is also characterized by convergence, where the Nazca plate subducts beneath South America towards the east at a rate of approximately 65 mm/yr. The January 31, 1906 M8.5 earthquake occurred on the shallowly dipping megathrust interface of this plate boundary segment. Along the western coast of Central America, the Cocos plate subducts towards the east beneath the Caribbean plate at the Middle America Trench. Convergence rates vary between 72-81 mm/yr, decreasing towards the north. This subduction results in relatively high rates of seismicity and a chain of numerous active volcanoes; intermediate-focus earthquakes occur within the subducted Cocos plate to depths of nearly 300 km. Since 1900, there have been many moderately sized intermediate-depth earthquakes in this region, including the September 7, 1915 M7.4 El Salvador and the October 5, 1950 M7.8 Costa Rica events.

The boundary between the Cocos and Nazca plates is characterized by a series of north-south trending transform faults and east-west trending spreading centers. The largest and most seismically active of these transform boundaries is the Panama Fracture Zone. The Panama Fracture Zone terminates in the south at the Galapagos rift zone and in the north at the Middle America trench, where it forms part of the Cocos-Nazca-Caribbean triple junction. Earthquakes along the Panama Fracture Zone are generally shallow, low- to intermediate in magnitude (Magnitude less than 7.2) and are characteristically right-lateral strike-slip faulting earthquakes. Since 1900, the largest earthquake to occur along the Panama Fracture Zone was the July 26, 1962 M7.2 earthquake.

References for the Panama Fracture Zone:

Molnar, P., and Sykes, L. R., 1969, Tectonics of the Caribbean and Middle America Regions from Focal Mechanisms and Seismicity: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 80, p. 1639-1684.

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics

- USGS.