Earthquakes Rattle Puerto Rico

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105 earthquakes have rocked Puerto Rico in the past 7 days, including 5 that struck today. Each point reflects the epicenter of the earthquakes; the orange dots reflect recent earthquakes and the most recent red dot. Image: USGS

More than 100 earthquakes rocked Puerto Rico in past 7 days; five earthquakes have rocked the island in the past 24 hours. Although several of these earthquakes were felt by residents, there was no damage or injury. due to their relatively low intensity, there is also no tsunami threat to the Caribbean or the east coast of the United States at this time.

These earthquakes are not far from the epicenter of a strong earthquake that struck in January 2020. This 6.4 caused extensive damage in Puerto Rico, including widespread power outages in a large part of the island. A swarm of earthquakes started here in December 2019 and unrest has continued ever since.

These earthquakes occur near the northern edge of the Caribbean Plate, a primarily oceanic tectonic plate underlying Central America and the Caribbean Sea off the northern coast of South America. The Caribbean Plate borders the North American Plate, the South American Plate, the Nazca Plate, and the Cocos Plate. The edges of these plates harbor ongoing seismic activity, including frequent earthquakes, occasional tsunamis, and sometimes even volcanic eruptions.

Fortunately, the earthquakes have so far been brought under control enough not to create a tsunami. The strongest, a 3.8 that hit last night, was not strong enough to generate a tsunami threat for Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean or the US East Coast.

The USGS continues to monitor seismic activity in and around Puerto Rico, while the National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning Center monitors any tsunami threats.


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