3 Earthquakes Hit Guatemala, Killing at Least 1

At least one person has been confirmed dead after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook Guatemala Monday around 12:30 p.m. local time. Following soon after, within a half-hour, two quakes registering at a magnitude of 4.8 struck near the same location, authorities said.

The first quake struck at a depth of 37.9 miles and was centered just 25 miles southeast of Guatemala City.

The two other quakes hit at a depth of 24.5 miles and were centered 33 miles southeast of the capital city, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Firefighters have rushed to the scene where people have been found buried under rubble and reported that temblors, which shook most of the country, caused a landslide on the highway to El Salvador near the epicenter of Cuilapa Santa Rosa that trapped at least one car and killed one person.

Local media also reported that a wall fell on several houses, trapping a family. It was not clear if there were more casualties. Public buildings were evacuated in the area and school classes canceled, authorities said.

Earthquakes are quite frequent in Guatemala due to the fact the country lies in a major fault zone, which cuts across Guatemala and forms the tectonic boundary between the Caribbean plate and the North American plates.

In 1976, a 7.5-magnitude quake struck Guatemala causing an estimated 23,000 deaths and around $700 million worth of property damage.

In addition, a 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck in 1942, though higher in magnitude and causing less damage.