At least six earthquakes shook sections of the Eastern Caribbean between between Friday (December 1) night and Saturday morning (December 2) prompting the UWI Seismic Research Center (SRC) to address the matter and urge preparedness.
Data from the SRC shows that during the period, the six quakes took place with their epicenters just off the northeastern coast of the French island of Guadeloupe. The first one took place at 10:31 on Friday night and measured 4.3 on the Richter Scale. It was followed by another at 10:58 pm which measured 3.8. This was quickly followed by
another at 11:00 pm, measuring 4.4. Yet another took place at 11:13 pm and measured 3.8. On Saturday morning at 4:38, another tremor occurred which measured 5.8, followed by one at 6:29 measuring 4.4.
The tremors have rattled people across the region who felt them with many taking to social media to express their fears and wonder what is going on.
“Can someone explain what is causing all of the earth tremors recently and what does it mean for the Caribbean people?” one concerned person asked on Facebook.
In a statement on Saturday morning, the SRC said the region experiences thousands of earthquakes a year because “the Lesser Antilles arc is a subduction zone setting.”
“While most of these events are not felt, moderate to significant-sized events may impact the region at anytime,” the organization said.
“Many of the events occurring overnight have been located in the northeastern section of the arc, in the area known to have generated our largest earthquake, on 08 February, 1843.”
It also said within recent days and months, “several areas, from Barbados to far north-east of the arc, have generated moderate to strong earthquakes.”
“Sometimes, such activity signals an even more significant magnitude earthquake, in the short term,” the SRC stated. “Larger earthquakes are also a normal part of the earthquake cycle. At this time, however, the science is unable to predict exactly where and when such events would occur. To mitigate the impact, we should always have our preparedness measures in place.”
It added, “It is important to remember that the effects of large magnitude earthquakes can extend over wide areas. We should all, therefore, ensure that we are prepared, plan and practice individually, nationally, and regionally.”
In response to one concern expressed on Facebook, the SRC said it has always maintained that the region can experience large earthquakes.
“From the historical records, we should have a large magnitude earthquake every 100 years or so. The last event of that magnitude was in 1843,” it said.
The video below by the SRC explains why the Caribbean gets earthquakes and volcanoes and why there is a need to prepare for any event.