Earthquake in Caribbean Triggers Tsunami Warning

(United States Geological Survey)

A 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck in the Caribbean Sea Tuesday afternoon between Cuba, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. The epicenter was 77 miles northwest of Lucea, Jamaica, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). In addition, tsunami waves over three feet are possible along some coasts of Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC).

According to the USGS, there is a low likelihood of casualties and damage. Additionally, “Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are resistant to earthquake shaking, though vulnerable structures exist,” a report from the USGS says. “The predominant vulnerable building types are unreinforced brick masonry and reinforced masonry construction.” Most cities in the affected areas only felt weak, light or moderate shaking (Levels 2 to 5 on a scale that goes up to 10).

The USGS received reports from people north of Miami, FL that felt the tremors.

Regarding tsunami waves, the PTWC, “actual amplitudes at the coast may vary from forecast amplitudes due to uncertainties in the forecast and local features. In particular, maximum tsunami amplitudes on atolls or small islands and at locations with fringing or barrier reefs will likely be much smaller than the forecast indicates.”

Estimated arrival times range from 7:21 p.m. to 11:45 p.m., the PTWC adds. The time between waves can last from five minutes to an hour.

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