Over the course of a few days about three weeks ago, Panama experienced a series of significant earthquakes, measuring between 6.35 and 7.0, depending on which reports are consulted. Fortunately, the epicenters were located south of Panama in the Pacific Ocean, and caused little to no damage in the country itself. Even in Boquete, however, they were felt as some of the strongest and longest-lasting quakes (perhaps 30 seconds) I’ve experienced in the three years I’ve lived here.
We do have fairly frequent smaller earthquakes here, because there are several tectonic plates that converge in this area. This graphic illustrates the boundaries of these plates. As you can see, the location where the majority of the local earthquakes happen is where the blue dot is, at the point where two plates meet.
I noted one of the quakes that occurred soon after I moved to Boquete in a previous blog post here. We hadn’t experienced any shakers of a significant magnitude for quite awhile, so these bigger ones got everyone’s attention!
I was at drum circle when the larger of the quakes happened. There is a large flat-screen TV on a free-standing pole next to where we meet, and I noticed it start to sway back and forth – and then the ground shook and rolled for quite awhile. We joked that our drumming was so powerful that it caused the quake. It definitely added an extra dimension to our afternoon!