An ongoing series of earthquakes continue to rattle the area in and around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fortunately, the earthquakes haven’t been strong enough to create much damage and none have been strong enough to generate a tsunami; as such, there is no risk of tsunami to the U.S. East Coast, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In the last 24 hours, 10 earthquakes struck the southwest shore of Puerto Rico and the offshore waters north of St. John. These quakes are in addition to dozens that have struck the same general region over the last week.
The strongest earthquake, a 4.0 magnitude event, struck 67 miles north of Cruz Bay in the USVI. That earthquake had a depth of roughly 11 miles.
A 3.8 earthquake also struck this morning on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, about 17 miles from Miches.
Six weaker earthquakes hit Puerto Rico near Guanica, Ensenada, Indios, and Playa on the southwest coast. These earthquakes are close to the epicenter of a strong earthquake that hit in January 2020; these new quakes are likely continued aftershocks from that event. 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.