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Posted: Thursday 9 January, 2020 at 8:16 AM

Eastern Caribbean rocked again by earthquake

By: Staff Reporter,

    Emergency officials place alert


    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -  THE Eastern Caribbean was again jolted by an earthquake that measured over five on the Richter Scale and occurred in the open waters, no tsunami warnings are in effect.

    The quake, which struck just off Dominica, measured 5.2, according to the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center.

    The regional agency, which monitors such occurrences, said in a statement that the event occurred at a depth of 123 km and was 23 km Southeast of Roseau, Dominica; 66 km Northwest of Fort-de-France, Martinique; and 124 km South Southeast of Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe.

    According to media reports, the earth shook at approximately 9:12 a.m., with early reports suggesting a Tsunami Warning was in effect. However, UWI late yesterday (Jan 8) confirmed that no warning was in effect for the 5.2 quake.

    “There are four conditions necessary for an earthquake to cause a tsunami:
    (1) The earthquake must occur beneath the ocean or cause material to slide into the ocean;
    (2) The earthquake must be very strong, at least magnitude 6.5;
    (3) The earthquake must rupture the surface (seabed) and it must occur at shallow depth – less than 70km below the surface of the earth; and
    (4) The earthquake must cause vertical movement (up/down) of the sea floor (up to several metres).

    “None of these occurred during this event. It should be highlighted that there is a protocol in place should a tsunami be generated and the Centre will alert the public as needs be. The UWI-SRC remains the authority on the geological hazards that can impact our region and we urge the public to verify information before sharing.”

    This is the third earthquake in the last 24 hours to strike the upper Eastern/Northern Caribbean.

    Just yesterday, a magnitude 6.5 rocked Puerto Rico, leaving homes and buildings cracks and several flattened.

    Media reports point to at least one death.

    Meanwhile, the Eastern Caribbean was struck with several quakes during the Christmas New Year period.

    During that period, there were at least 
    That has prompted both the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nevis Disaster Management Department to issue a statement to reassure citizens and resident that they are monitoring the situation closely.

    “The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nevis Disaster Management Department (NDMD) are actively monitoring the heightened levels of Seismic activity near the south western Coast of Puerto Rico that commenced in early December 2019, and has continued into 2020. Earthquakes of magnitude 6.5 have been recorded with some reports of damages.

    “The occurrences of the earthquakes and other natural hazards are beyond our control. Therefore, it is the duty of every citizen to be prepared to respond to any adverse effects that may arise from the seismic activities. It is important for everyone to know what to do before, during and after each hazard to reduce risks and prevent losses.”

    The statement went further to quote Dr. Joan Latchman, [University of the West Indies] UWI Seismic Research Center Seismologist has confirmed that “the pattern of seismic activity in the Leeward supports the prognosis that a more significant magnitude earthquake than those that we have in our database cannot be ruled out. A major earthquake is always possible and, therefore, hazard awareness should be sustained.” 

    NEMA and NDMD have recognized the important role of sound public education programmes in creating prepared communities. Effective action during an emergency can only be achieved if the public is made fully aware in advance of the nature of the hazard, the consequent risks and what can be done to reduce these risks.

    Standard Operating Procedures are being utilized by the appropriate authorities to address all hazard occurrences. The general public is asked to remain vigilant and maintain situational awareness during normal activities.
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