Earthquake between Jamaica and Cuba


Adam Schraibman

On Tuesday January 28th, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake rocked the Caribbean. The earthquake happened about 70 miles northwest Montego Bay, Jamaica at around 2 pm. There were minor shakes felt all around the general vicinity but they even extended to Southern Florida.

Tremors that reached up to 6.1 magnitude left buildings in Miami evacuated as well as some buildings in cities in Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands. There has been no reports of any major damage in the further regions besides evacuations.

This was the largest earthquake in the region since 1946 which also happened to be around 7.7.

With earthquakes that are under water (especially of this size) people tend to worry about the Tsunami wave that usually comes with it but fortunately in this case a warning from the U.S. geological survey said “to expect waves up to 3 feet” but by 5 pm on Tuesday the warning was taken away as it no longer posed a threat to the surrounding regions.

The reason for no large tsunami is because of how far underground the earthquake was. Geologists predict that it was around 4.4 miles under the sand which was underwater.

The cause of the earthquake was determined to be because of a strike-slip fault which is when there are vertical fractures that have started to move horizontally and then block the opposing side. These types of faults are usually fine when underwater as they lose a lot of there force and at most cause small tidal waves.

The kind of fault that starts a tsunami isn’t really found in central America. The kind that starts a tsunami is a subduction zone which creates tension that is released to the surface which is usually water and creates a giant wave that can be extremely dangerous. That is what happened in Japan in 2011.