Jul 28, 9:35 PM EDT

USGS says 5.9-magnitude earthquake shakes region along Colombia-Panama border

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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- A strong earthquake shook a sparsely populated region along the border between Colombia and Panama on Tuesday evening. There were no early reports of damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Service said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.9, while Colombia's seismological institute put it at 6.1.

The epicenter was about 17 miles (29 kilometers) south of the Colombian town of Acandi and 159 miles (258 kilometers) east-southeast of Panama City, a point in the dense Darien Gap jungle area between the two countries. The tremor occurred at 7:10 p.m. about 6 miles (10 kilometers) below the surface.

Frightened residents said the earth shook for about 30 seconds. In Acandi and the nearby town of Ungia, power was briefly knocked out and some homes showed cracks.

Authorities were still trying to determine if there was damage or injuries in the area, said Walter Valoyes, a spokesman for the Red Cross in Choco province, where the two towns are.

In Panama City, the National Assembly was in session and lawmakers were evacuated as a precautionary measure.


Associated Press writer Juan Zamorano in Panama City contributed to this report.

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