Dozens of earthquakes have rattled Puerto Rico in recent days, but fortunately none have been strong enough to create a local or regional tsunami in the Atlantic or the Caribbean Sea. According to USGS, 14 earthquakes struck in the last 24 hours, 117 struck in the last 7 days, and 462 have struck over the last 30 days.
While several of these earthquakes have been felt by locals, there has been no earthquake damage nor injuries reported. USGS continues to track and measure earthquakes in the region. Also observing the earthquake activity is the National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning Center, which hasn’t issued any tsunami advisory on any earthquake around Puerto Rico recently.
The strongest earthquake reported in the last 24 hours was a 3.6 magnitude event which struck just off-shore the northwest coast of the island.
Most of today’s earthquakes aren’t far from the epicenter of a strong earthquake that hit 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. Eleven earthquakes have hit in the last 24 hours in and near the January 2020 epicenter area.
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.
These earthquakes are unrelated to earthquakes occuring in the southeastern United States. In recent days, earthquakes have struck Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and South Carolina. Most of those earthquakes are tied to either the New Madrid Seismic Zone or ongoing local swarms that scientists are trying to determine a cause for.