On Thursday, a major earthquake struck off the coast of Guatemala and the nearby country of El Salvador. No causalities have yet been reported, but the tremors damaged buildings and pulled down trees for miles.

The reach of the destruction

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake measured at a 6.8 magnitude. El Salvador’s government said that no tsunami alert had been issued as a result of the quake. The exact place of impact occurred 46.8 kilometers below and 24 miles southwest of Puerto San Jose. Last week, a similar magnitude struck the interior of Guatemala killing at least two people and damaging buildings.

According to the head of Mexico’s civil protection authority, Luis Felipe Puente, the earthquake could be felt for miles away in the state of Chiapas on the Guatemalan border. A spokesman for emergency services in Honduras said the quake could be felt in the west of the country. No reports of damages in these areas have been released as of yet.

Nod to the past

Although no causalities have yet been reported for this most recent shake in Guatemala, the Large tremor was likely a frightening nod to 1976 when the country was hit with a 7.5 magnitude quake centered on the Motagua Fault, northeast of Guatemala City. The quake was a result of a clash between the Caribbean and North American plates on that fault.

Cities throughout the country suffered damage from this large hit, and because it struck during the early morning when most people were asleep, the death toll was unusually high at 23,000. Approximately 76,000 were injured that year, and as many as one million were left homeless without electricity or communication for several days.

Many people could not be saved due to how difficult it was to get into the city as a result of the destroyed roads and bridges leading into it. Thousands of aftershocks followed this massively destructive event, contributing only further to the damage and loss of life. This most recent event, although not as catastrophic, has surely re-opened existing wounds for many living in Guatemala who still freshly recall that fateful day in 1976.

In the next few hours and days, reports of injuries and possible deaths of Guatemala’s most recent 6.8 magnitude quake will likely roll in. This is the second earthquake to strike the country in eight days, providing no immediate relief for Guatemalans affected by the destruction of these earth movements.