A strong earthquake has hit off the coast of El Salvador, sending frightened residents running out of their homes in the predawn hours.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.6.
Its epicenter was about 17 miles south-southeast of La Libertad, a suburb of the regional capital, Santa Tecla, and it was recorded at a depth of 65 kilometers (40 miles).
The earthquake was felt strongly in the capital, San Salvador, Thursday morning. People left their homes with flashlights, and power was knocked out in at least some areas.
At least seven aftershocks of between magnitude 4.1 and 5.0 were recorded.
While El Salvador’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources warned of a possible tsunami and advised people to stay away from the Pacific Ocean for the next four hours.
This is the latest episode in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, with reports of power cut in some parts of the country as a result and warnings of a possible tsunami with sea levels predicted to rise by up to a foot.
Schools were also closed for a period of 24 hours, as the earthquake was felt strongly in the capital, San Salvador.
This quake comes after another measuring 6.2 magnitude also shook El Salvador and neighboring Nicaragua on May 16.
The Biblical prophecies (Matthew 24, Luke 21) foretell that earthquakes will be a sign of the Last Days indicating the coming end of the age and the nearing appearance of Jesus Christ.
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