Trinidad, Wider Caribbean on Alert Following Spate of Earthquakes

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Cracks on a Trinidad highway, resulting from a recent earthquake. (Photo courtesy of loopcayman.com)

Trinidad Rattled by Two Quakes Minutes Apart on Monday, Barbados Records One on Saturday

Two earthquakes, one with a magnitude of 5.1 rattled Trinidad and Tobago minutes apart late on Monday night, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The Seismic Research centre (SRC) of the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies said that the first quake was felt at 11.33 pm (local time) and measured 5.1 on the Richter scale.

The quake was felt 88 km west south west of the capital, Port of Spain, 91 km west north west of the second city, San Fernando and 110 km east south east of Carúpano in Venezuela.

SRC said that the second quake, which occurred four minutes later had a magnitude of 4.2 and was located Latitude: 10.49N, Longitude: 61.93W and at a depth of 10 km.

This quake was felt mainly in the capital, the second city of San Fernando and the town of Arima, east of here.

The quakes are the latest to rattle the country now dealing with excessive flooding caused by torrential rains over the past four days.

Over the last three days the country has been hit by earthquakes with magnitudes of 5.1, 4.2 and 4.1 respectively.

In August, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 jolted Trinidad and Tobago, sending an already frightened population out of buildings into the streets.

The SRC said then it was one of the many aftershock following the major earthquake that registered 7.3 on August 21.

BARBADOS:

Meanwhile, an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.2 was recorded in Barbados on Saturday afternoon but there were no immediate reports of damages or injuries.

The Seismic Research centre (SRC) of the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West indies (UWI), in Trinidad and Tobago said that the quake occurred at 4.41 p.m. (local time).

The SRC said the quake was felt 92 km south of Bridgetown, 166 km north east of Scarborough, Tobago and 191 km south east of Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines.

JAMAICA:
In Jamaica the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) says it understands and acknowledges the concerns and anxieties of Jamaicans given the spate of earthquakes in the country and the wider Caribbean in the past two months.

“Our partners in the community of practice have advised that despite the frequency with which the region has been experiencing events of this nature, it is not an indication of an increase in the occurrence of earthquakes on a global scale,” ODPEM director general, Major Clive Davis, said in a statement.

It said that in the case of Jamaica, research has shown that the island experiences an average of 200 earthquakes each year. Most of these are usually small and may not even be felt by humans.”

But the ODPEM said it is however believed that “our awareness of the last few events may have been heightened as they occurred on the weekend and was also carried widely by traditional and “new” media. “This in and of itself, has the advantage of increasing awareness and hopefully that of our preparedness. On the other had if this information is not provided in context and with the necessary scientific support, it could unfortunately, increase anxiety.”

The ODPEM said that despite advances in seismology it is still not possible in the true sense to predict the occurrence an earthquake.

“Earthquakes have no season and are neither weather related nor having relationship to the concepts of climate change. It is instead a normally occurring phenomenon of life on planet earth,” Davis said, noting that “as we become concerned, we cannot allow ourselves to become paralyzed into inaction.

“We must be proactive. We ask that you put preparedness measures in place to manage earthquakes. These include the identification and securing of items in your facility which, in an earthquake, could fall or topple and result in blockage of exit paths or cause injury. Plan and rehearse your response to Earthquakes. Have a disaster plan for your family, business or institution.”

The ODEPM said it is working with other stakeholders both in the public and private sectors, to plan and build for earthquakes. – CMC

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