FORTALEZA, Brazil -- A mild earthquake shook at least five states in northeastern Brazil early Thursday, causing no injuries but cracking walls and sending thousands of panicked residents scrambling into the streets.
In this coastal city of 1.1 million inhabitants, geologist Manoel Alcides Rocha of Ceara State University estimated the force of the quake at between three and four on the Richter Scale.
However, geologists in the capital of Brasilia measured the earthquake at 5.8 and said its epicenter was Quixeramobim in the interior of Ceara state.
Hospitals in Fortaleza reported no injuries but said they did treat people for hysteria and shock.
'I woke up with my bed shaking and all the residents of my building were all already out in the street,' said Vania Pontes in Fortaleza. 'My first sensation was one of panic because I am pregnant. We all made a crazy rush down the stairs.'
In Teresina, 375 miles to the west, furniture moved and pictures fell. Teresina is the capital of Piaui state. The tremors were also felt in the states of Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte and Paraiba.