Strong quake hits Costa Rica but no injuries reported

By John McPhaul

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) - A strong earthquake struck Costa Rica on Thursday, shaking buildings and causing minor structural damage in the capital, but there were no initial reports of casualties.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.1 quake occurred some 20 miles (32 km) from San Jose at a depth of 21.7 miles (35 km). The USGS initially estimated the magnitude at 6.2.

Residents of the capital said the shaking lasted around 40 seconds, causing pieces of ceiling to fall down in some homes. Local television showed buildings with shattered windows and damaged walls but emergency services officials had no reports of injuries or death.

"I was very frightened. First I got underneath an arch support and then, when it calmed down, I got out of the house," said lawyer Michael Henreichs, 35, in a residential area.

Costa Rican radio said there were some reports of landslides and damage to a highway in a rural area.

"It was strong. It was scary. It was moving quite a bit," hotel concierge Ronald Ramirez said.

(Additional reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Eric Walsh)