1982 El Salvador earthquake

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1982 El Salvador earthquake
Relief map of Central America.jpg
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Guatemala City
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San José
UTC  time1982-06-19 06:21:58
ISC  event 597450
Local date19 June 1982 (1982-06-19)
Local time00:21:58
Duration25 s (shaking felt) [1]
Magnitude Ms 7.2
Depth82 km (51 mi)
Epicenter 13°19′N89°20′W / 13.31°N 89.34°W / 13.31; -89.34 Coordinates: 13°19′N89°20′W / 13.31°N 89.34°W / 13.31; -89.34
Type Normal [2]
Areas affectedEl Salvador
Total damage$5 million [3]
Max. intensity VII (Very strong) [3]
LandslidesYes [4]
Casualties16–43 dead [2]

The 1982 El Salvador earthquake occurred southeast of San Salvador on 19 June at 00:21 local time (06:21 UTC). This undersea earthquake struck offshore in the Pacific Ocean and had a surface wave magnitude of 7.2 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong). Occurring adjacent to a subduction zone at the Middle America Trench, this normal-slip shock left at least 16 and as many as 43 people dead, and many injured, and also inflicted $5 million in damage.

San Salvador Capital of El Salvador

San Salvador is the capital and the most populous city of El Salvador and its eponymous department. It is the country's political, cultural, educational and financial center. The Metropolitan Area of San Salvador which comprises the capital itself and 13 of its municipalities has a population of 2,404,097.

Middle America Trench A subduction zone in the eastern Pacific off the southwestern coast of Middle America

The Middle America Trench is a major subduction zone, an oceanic trench in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the southwestern coast of Middle America, stretching from central Mexico to Costa Rica. The trench is 1,700 miles (2,750 km) long and is 21,880 feet at its deepest point. The trench is the boundary between the Rivera, Cocos, and Nazca plates on one side and the North American and Caribbean plates on the other. It is the 18th-deepest trench in the world. Many large earthquakes have occurred in the area of the Middle America Trench.


Tectonic setting

Near the Salvadorian coast, the Cocos Plate is subducting beneath the Caribbean Plate at the Middle America Trench. This earthquake was an intra-slab, normal-slip subduction earthquake in the subducting plate. The subduction zone and a local system of faults along the volcanic chain are two major sources of the earthquakes in El Salvador. [5]

Cocos Plate A young oceanic tectonic plate beneath the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Central America

The Cocos Plate is a young oceanic tectonic plate beneath the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Central America, named for Cocos Island, which rides upon it. The Cocos Plate was created approximately 23 million years ago when the Farallon Plate broke into two pieces, which also created the Nazca Plate. The Cocos Plate also broke into two pieces, creating the small Rivera Plate. The Cocos Plate is bounded by several different plates. To the northeast it is bounded by the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate. To the west it is bounded by the Pacific Plate and to the south by the Nazca Plate.

Caribbean Plate A mostly oceanic tectonic plate including part of Central America and the Caribbean Sea

The Caribbean Plate is a mostly oceanic tectonic plate underlying Central America and the Caribbean Sea off the north coast of South America.


The mechanism of this earthquake had many similarities with the El Salvador earthquake of 13 January 2001. [6]


The intensity in San Salvador reached VII (Very strong). [7] [8] The most affected cities are San Salvador, Ahuachapán, Concepción de Ataco, Comasagua, San Miguel, San Pedro Nonualco, and San Juan Tepezontes. [9] This earthquake could be felt in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, with intensities V (Moderate) in Guatemala City, Guatemala, IV (Light) in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, V in Managua, Nicaragua, and III (Weak) in San José, Costa Rica. [10] [11]

Ahuachapán Municipality in Ahuachapán Department, El Salvador

Ahuachapán is a city and municipality and the capital of the Ahuachapán Department in western El Salvador. The municipality including the city covers an area of 244.84 km² and as of 2007 has a population of 110,511 people. Situated near the Guatemalan border, it is the westernmost city in the country and is the center of an agricultural region producing primarily coffee.

Concepción de Ataco Municipality in Ahuachapán Department, El Salvador

Concepción de Ataco is a municipality and city within the Ahuachapán Department, El Salvador. It has an area of 61.03 km ² and a population of 18,101 inhabitants.

San Miguel, El Salvador City in San Miguel Department, El Salvador

San Miguel is a city in eastern El Salvador. It is the country's third most populous city. It is located 138 km east of the capital, San Salvador. It is also the capital of the department of San Miguel and a municipality. The population of the city in 2017 was 518,410.

See also

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  1. White, R. A.; Ligorría, J. P.; Cifuentes, I. L. (2004), "Seismic history of the Middle America subduction zone along el Salvador, Guatemala, and Chiapas, Mexico: 1526–2000", Special Paper 375: Natural Hazards in el Salvador, 375, pp. 379–396, doi:10.1130/0-8137-2375-2.379, ISBN   978-0-8137-2375-4
  2. 1 2 USGS (4 September 2009), PAGER-CAT Earthquake Catalog, Version 2008_06.1, United States Geological Survey
  3. 1 2 National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service (NGDC/WDS) (1972), Significant Earthquake Database (Data Set), National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA, doi:10.7289/V5TD9V7K
  4. López, M.; Bommer, J.; Méndez, P. (2004). The Seismic Performance of Bahareque Dwellings in El Salvador (PDF). 13th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, August 1–6, 2004.
  5. Martínez-Díaz, J. J.; Álvarez-Gómez, J. A.; Benito, B.; Hernández, D. (2004), "Triggering of destructive earthquakes in el Salvador" (PDF), Geology, 32 (1): 65–68, Bibcode:2004Geo....32...65M, doi:10.1130/G20089.1
  6. Bommer, J. J.; Benito, M. B.; Ciudad-Real, M.; Lemoine, A.; López-Menjı́Var, M. A.; Madariaga, R.; Mankelow, J.; Méndez De Hasbun, P.; Murphy, W.; Nieto-Lovo, M.; Rodrı́Guez-Pineda, C. E.; Rosa, H. (2002), "The el Salvador earthquakes of January and February 2001: Context, characteristics and implications for seismic risk" (PDF), Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 22 (5): 389–418, doi:10.1016/S0267-7261(02)00024-6, archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2011
  7. http://wwwsoc.nii.ac.jp/jsnds/contents/jnds/23_2_1.pdf%5B%5D
  8. isosistas. Snet.gob.sv (10 October 1986). Retrieved on 25 October 2011.
  9. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. Significant Earthquakes of the World Archived 4 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine . Earthquake.usgs.gov (5 January 2010). Retrieved on 25 October 2011.
  11. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

Further reading

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