Puerto Rico has been seismically active again in the last 24 hours, with 11 earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.5 greater rattling the island. The earthquakes were light but strong enough to be felt, ranging in magnitude from 2.1 to as high as 3.7. Fortunately, the intensity of the earthquakes hasn’t been great enough to generate a tsunami in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, or the broader U.S. East Coast.
Most of today’s earthquakes struck along the south coast of Puerto Rico where a strong earthquake hit in 2020. These earthquakes are likely continued aftershocks from that strong earthquake that struck the island in January 2020. That 6.4 created extensive damage in Puerto Rico, including widespread power failures across much of the island. An earthquake swarm started here in December 2019 and unrest has continued since.
These earthquakes are occurring near the northern edge of the Caribbean Plate, a mostly oceanic tectonic plate underlying Central America and the Caribbean Sea off of the north coast of South America. The Caribbean Plate borders the North American Plate, the South American Plate, the Nazca Plate, and the Cocos Plate. The borders of these plates are home to ongoing seismic activity, including frequent earthquakes, occasional tsunamis, and sometimes even volcanic eruptions.