Nicaragua Earthquake: A 6.5 magnitude quake in Nicaragua on Saturday occurred about 50 miles from the capital, Managua, which was leveled in 1972 after the majority of buildings were deemed unsafe from damage sustained in a 6.2 magnitude quake.
Reports show minimal damage from Saturday’s quake, as it occurred off the coast. A September 2012 Nicaragua Dispatch report, notes that every 40 to 45 years, an earthquake devastates the Managua area.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the 6.2 quake in Managua in 1972 killed about 5,000. Nicaragua’s leader at the time, Anastasio Somoza, ordered large swaths of the city demolished as the buildings had become unsafe. Somoza lined his own pockets with aid money, according to multiple historical accounts, including a Brown University report.
Before Saturday’s quake, the most recent quake in Nicaragua recorded by the USGS occurred about 60 miles from Managua, also off the coast, and also without fatalities. It had a magnitude of 6.6. In 2004, a 6.9-magnitude quake hit about 50 miles from Managua off the coast without fatalities. A 1992 quake killed 116 and left about 13,500 homeless along the west coast.
A tsunami alert was issued following Saturday’s quake as a precaution.
1972 News Report on the Managua Earthquake