A 7.7 magnitude earthquake, according to preliminary reports, shook several Caribbean countries on the afternoon of this January 28, including Cuba, where it was perceptible in almost the entire country, according to press reports and users of social networks.
The epicenter of the earthquake, which occurred at 2:10 p.m. local time (1910 GMT) and was located at a depth of about 10 kilometers, was situated 139 kilometers northwest of Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Dr. Enrique Arango, head of Cuba’s National Seismological Service, assured the Telesur chain that, according to his entity’s records, it had a magnitude of 7.1 on the Richter scale, and that it was located 123 kilometers west-southwest of Cabo Cruz, in the eastern Cuban province of Granma.
La red de estaciones del Servicio Sismológico registró un sismo reportado como perceptible a 123.6 km al oeste-sureste de Cabo Cruz en la provincia de Granma. Este es el sismo perceptible No. 2 en el año 2020. No se reportan daños humanos ni materiales
— Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Medio Ambiente (@citmacuba) January 28, 2020
“It has been felt throughout the national territory; as is logical, stronger near the eastern provinces, where the shock has been strong. So far no material or human damage has been reported. Because of the mechanism of lateral displacement of the fault, which is called Falla Oriente, no danger of a tsunami is expected,” said Arango, who urged to “keep calm and keep abreast of the information through the media.”
Previously, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported that it was a 7.7-degree quake, while other sources gave figures between 7.6 and 7.3. A first possible tsunami alert was withdrawn, although the USGS said waves of up to 90 centimeters are expected in the affected region.
Jefe del Servicio Sismológico Nacional aclara a Cubadebate que no hay peligro de tsunami para #Cuba
*Caption: Head of the National Seismological Service clarifies to Cubadebate that there is no danger of tsunami for #Cuba
In Cuba, the tremor was felt mainly throughout the eastern region; as well as in localities of the center such as Cienfuegos, Ciego de Ávila, Sancti Spíritus and Camagüey, and in Pinar del Río and Isla de la Juventud, in the western area, as confirmed by people in the social networks and Cuban and foreign media.
Testimonies from residents in cities such as Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo, Bayamo and Havana, where people took to the streets from their homes, schools and work centers, after the tremor, reached OnCuba.
#Sismo‼️Fuerte temblor. Perceptible en #ProvinciaGranma.#Confirmado: Un sismo de 7.1 grados de magnitud, perceptible…
*Caption: #Earthquake‼ ️Strong tremor. Perceptible in #GranmaProvince. Reports throughout eastern Cuba (#Earthquake UPDATE…
In Havana, the reports of perceptibility are especially from tall buildings, and several buildings such as the Lonja del Comercio, in Old Havana, or the headquarters of the Technological University of Havana (CUJAE), in the southwest of the city, according to witness accounts cited by EFE news agency and posts on the networks.
Primeros reportes del sismo en #cuba señalan que en edificios altos se sintió fuerte y la gente activó planes de desalojo. Esta foto me la envió un estudiante de la @CujaeRedSocial, donde detuvieron las clases. En el sur, en Cienfuegos, se jamaqueó fuerte. Todavía se sabe poco. pic.twitter.com/6BqWI7vUfI
— Benjamín Morales (@BenjaminMorales) January 28, 2020
Other Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Haiti, Belize, Mexico and Honduras also reported the earthquake. Even in Miami, in South Florida (USA), residents and office workers evacuated several buildings. In the Cayman Islands it caused cracks in roads and apparently a drain leak. So far there are no reports of deaths, wounded or more severe damages in the region.
Replicas of the earthquake have also been recorded, several of them over 6.0 degrees, a normal phenomenon according to Dr. Arango, who explained that after the relative seismic calm of the last three years a significant tremor in the zone was expected due to accumulated energy.
Residents in Downtown Miami, Brickell, Dadeland and Aventura, mainly in high rises, have reported swaying. Some buildings have also been evacuated, such as the Bank of America on Brickell Avenue. #earthquake #breakingnews https://t.co/w3RKEFjhID
— Liane Morejon WPLG (@LianeWPLG) January 28, 2020
The social networks were full of posts about the earthquake in the Caribbean, where, since last December 28, an unusual seismic activity began in Puerto Rico, which culminated on January 7 with a 6.4 magnitude earthquake.
The last significant earthquake that occurred in Cuba was recorded on January 17, 2017, with a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter scale, and left no human or material damage.
The first perceptible tremor in the Cuban territory in 2020 shook the eastern region of Caimanera, in the province of Guantánamo, on January 23, with a magnitude of 4.2 on the Richter scale, without causing either victims or damage.