Tsunamis in Costa Rica

A total of 5 tidal waves classified as a tsunami since 1950 have killed 3 people in Costa Rica. Compared to other countries, Tsunamis therefore occur rather rarely.

The strongest tidal wave registered in Costa Rica so far reached a height of four meters. On 09/02/1992, no losses of human lifes have been registered by this tsunami.

The biggest impact in terms of lifes, injuries, destroyed homes and the economy had been a tsunami on 04/22/1991. A tidal wave of up to three meters killed 3 humans and destroyed vast areas.

Other natural hazards in Costa Rica:
The most severe tsunamis in the world

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Tsunamis are caused by earthquakes or other seismic eruptions on ground of an oceans and can cause massive tidal waves, which run with enormous force on land, causing great devastation. Especially in regions with only few tsunamis, the damage is often drastic, as the population does not expect tsunamis and thus hardly takes any protective measures. Even relatively small flood waves can lead to high losses and financial damage.

The marked positions on the map represent the most affected regions within the past 80 years.

The largest tsunamis in Costa Rica since 1950

DateCauseMax. tidal waveFatalitiesTotal damage
03/11/2011Earthquakes in Japan (Honshu Island) with a magnitude of 9.1. The tsunami caused damages in 11 further countries. A total of 18,431 humans died.1 m0
09/02/1992Earthquakes in Nicaragua (Nicaragua) with a magnitude of 7.7.4 m0
04/22/1991Earthquakes in Costa Rica (Limon, Pandora) with a magnitude of 7.6.3 m3
03/25/1990Earthquakes in Costa Rica (Costa Rica) with a magnitude of 7.0.1 m0
10/05/1950Earthquakes in Costa Rica (Costa Rica-Nicaragua) with a magnitude of 7.7.2 m0

These evaluations are based on data from the Global Historical Tsunami Database of the National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA, and World Data Service (NGDC/WDS), doi:10.7289/V5PN93H7. Individual data have been summarized or translated.
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