Just one day after 9 quakes rattled Puerto Rico, a stronger earthquake occurred early this morning north and east of the island and north and west of the U.S. Virgin islands, prompting the National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning Center to issue a statement.
The 12:44am earthquake struck at 18.8335 North 65.292 West at a depth of 23 km; it was measured to be a magnitude 4.8 earthquake, the strongest earthquake to strike the region yet this month. While the epicenter was under water, more than 200 people used the “Did you feel it?” tool on the USGS website to report feeling the earthquake in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The closest city to the epicenter was Culebra, Puerto Rico which is 42 miles to the south of the quake.
The National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning Center, based on Ewa Beach on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, issued a statement that “based on all available data, there is no tsunami threat to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or the British Virgin Islands from this earthquake.”
Puerto Rico is on the northern edge of the Caribbean Plate which is running into the North American Plate. The island is actually inching its way closer to the U.S. Mainland, although it’ll take thousands upon thousands of years to make a noticeable shift in its location. Puerto Rico has seen many earthquakes in recent days in the seismic hotspot: beyond 52 earthquakes were recorded in the last 7 days, 302 in the last 30 days, and 6,310 in the last 365 days.
Puerto Rico is also participating in an earthquake and tsunami drill known as CaribeWave’21 in the coming days. However, if there’s a strong earthquake or active tsunami threat, the drill will be canceled. CaribeWave’21 and LANTEX21 drill, which is scheduled a week later, will simulate nearby major earthquakes and earthquake-triggered tsunamis.