7.7 Magnitude Earthquake In Caribbean Sea

January 28, 2020

[Updated] A earthquake struck in the Caribbean Sea this afternoon [Jan 28] and according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.7.

This prompted a warning for some areas in the Caribbean, with the Tsunami Warning Center initially issuing a warning of possible tsunami waves reaching approximately 0.3 to one meter above the tide level for the coasts of Jamaica, Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, and the Cayman Islands. The organisation later updated to say that “the tsunami threat has now largely passed.”

Update: Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey


The Bermuda Weather Service also provided timely updates on their website, initially posting that there was no tsunami threat to Bermuda, then updating to note that says that “the tsunami threat from this earthquake has passed and there is no further threat.”

The latest from the BWS said, “Latest information from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center states that an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.7 occurred in the Cuba region at 1910 UTC on Tuesday, January 28 2020. Based on all available data, the tsunami threat from this earthquake has passed and there is no further threat.”

The Guardian reports, “A powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake has struck in the sea south of Cuba, shaking a vast area from Mexico to Florida and beyond, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

“Tsunami warnings for Cuba, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands were issued but lifted shortly afterward with no reports of major damage.

“The disaster management agency for the Cayman Islands government said on Twitter that several sinkholes had opened and at least one property was structurally damaged, but there were no confirmed reports of injuries or deaths.”

The Cayman Compass report, “Preliminary damage assessment is now under way and it has been confirmed that several sinkholes have opened up and at least one property has been structurally damaged, but there have been no confirmed reports of injuries to persons in the Cayman Islands.”

The tremors were also felt as far away as Miami, with the Miami officials tweeting that some buildings were being evacuated.

Update: The USGS said, “On January 28, 2020, a magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck in the Caribbean Sea, roughly equidistant from the costs of Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands. Seismic instruments immediately detected the earthquake that originated at a depth of about 6.2 miles [10 km].

“The U.S. Geological Survey continues to monitor the seismic activity in the region. The earthquake is a strike-slip event consistent with it occurring along the Oriente Fault. Aftershocks, which are already occurring, are normal and expected.

“Despite the large size of the earthquake, the fact that it occurred offshore and away from high population areas lessened its societal impact. USGS estimates moderate shaking occurred on parts of Cuba and Jamaica, the two islands closest to the epicenter, and light to weak shaking across other parts of these islands. Light shaking was also reported from some parts of the Florida mainland.

“USGS scientists report that this earthquake confirms what is already known about this part of the world: large earthquakes can and do happen in the Caribbean region.

“Five other earthquakes of M 6 or larger have occurred within 248 miles [400 km] of the January 28, 2020, event over the past half-century. They include a M 6.8 earthquake in December 2004, 174 miles [280 km] west of today’s earthquake, and a M 6.2 event in May 1992, almost 62 miles [100 km] east of today’s quake.

“None of these earthquakes are known to have resulted in shaking-related damage or fatalities, likely because of their location away from land and major population centers.”

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Comments (3)

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  1. Martin Brewer says:

    The Warwick Seismograph Station recorded the 7.7M Cuba region earthquake. The first (Primary) seismic waves arrived at 3:15pm; the Secondary waves arrived at 3:18pm. The surface waves peaked between 3:20pm and 3:22pm. The epicentre was 1,990km from Bermuda. Research on earthquakes felt in Bermuda indicates that it was possible for the earthquake to have been felt by people in Bermuda. It would have had an intensity of between II and III so it could have been felt by people at rest indoors, especially on upper floors of buildings. Many people would not have recognised it as an earthquake but the vibrations could have been felt or heard as those similar to a truck going by.

    If anyone heard or felt the ‘quake I would be interested to read your comments and where you were at the time.

  2. True faith says:

    A correction was done to 8.3 on some sites

  3. Ferrel chicken.