Head of the Earthquake Unit of the University of the West Indies-Mona, Dr. Lyndon Brown said that Jamaica shares the same fault line with Haiti, which suffered the recent 7.0 magnitude earthquake, motivating many to think about emergency preparedness.
He explained that “The fault that created the quake in Haiti runs right across the western end of the Dominican Republic, through Haiti, cuts across the Caribbean Sea into Jamaica and continues more or less into different fault lines across Jamaica; one continuous fault line runs across from Haiti to Jamaica” and that the aftershocks that have taken place are quite natural and will become less frequent over time. Dr. Brown also stated that the other earthquakes that have taken place in Guatemala, Venezuela, and El Salvador are happening on the Pacific Plate fault line, which is not the same one on which Haiti and Jamaica is located.
He stated that, on average, there have been about 16 earthquakes on an annual basis that are greater than magnitude 7.0 , about 120 around magnitude 6.0, and an innumerable amount at magnitude 5.0 and below. However, he stressed that “Earthquakes are very, very, common. If you look at a map of Jamaica you will see that last year we had about eight felt events (earthquakes) and about 200 that were weak but could just be picked up as earthquakes.”
[Photo of the Royal Artillery Store in Port Royal, which tilted after the 1907 earthquake in Jamaica.]
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