Home Environment Natural Disasters Magnitude 7 earthquake strikes off El Salvador.

Magnitude 7 earthquake strikes off El Salvador.

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A MASSIVE earthquake has hit off El Salvador and a tsunami alert covering 300km of Central American coastline has been issued.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake, which hit at 12.43pm local time (5.43am AEST) was centred 149km southwest of Puerto El Triunfo, at a depth of 33km.

Puerto El Triunfo is located about 80km southeast of the capital San Salvador.

The quake was initially rated as 7.2 but was revised down.

El Salvador’s civil defence agency said there were no reports of damage or injuries so far.

However a tsunami alert has been issued for the Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras coastlines.

El Salvador environment minister Lina Pohl said three-metre-high waves may hit the coast.

Authorities have urged those living along the country’s Pacific coast to move at least one kilometre away from the shore following the tremor.

The tremors could be felt in the regions of Chalatenango, San Salvador, Cabanas and San Miguel.

Jacqueline Najarro, a 38-year-old food seller at the Congress in San Salvador told Reuters: “We were serving lunch to the politicians and the earthquake started and we felt that it was very strong. We were scared.”

El Salvador sits along the seismic zone known as the Pacific Ring of Fire — a series of fault lines with 450km of active volcanoes stretching across 40,000km.

US monitoring agencies warned the quake could create hazardous tsunami waves as a hurricane barrelled into the Caribbean coasts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Category 2 Hurricane Otto hit land near the southeastern coast of Nicaragua, where thousands have already been evacuated away from vulnerable coastal areas and into shelters.

The quake and the hurricane prompted Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to declare a state of emergency across his country.

The Central American quake comes after a powerful 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit northeastern Japan on Tuesday.

The quake triggered tsunamis along the coast, including a 1.4m wave that crashed ashore at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

There were reports of minor injures after the quake, which had a depth of 10m, struck causing chaos.

New Zealand was also hit by its second earthquake in a week on Tuesday after the North Island was rocked b a 6.1 tremor.

The quake, centred off the coast almost 140km from Palmerston North at a depth of 37km, was felt more tan 500km away and caused damage up to 40km away.

Just last week a powerful quake hit the upper south island, killing two people