At 10:19AM Wednesday 16th January 2019, a Magnitude 3.8 earthquake occurred 38.2 KM S of Carúpano, Venezuela and 195.6 KM SW of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. This event occurred at a shallow depth of 15.0 KM and was not reported felt.
Based on the location and depth of this earthquake, it likely occurred in seismic zone 3, where a complex network of main faults and its conjugate faults interact in the Gulf of Paria and Eastern Venezuela. Here, seismicity is fairly high, with earthquakes generally shallow to moderate depth, up to 50 kilometers deep. Deeper earthquakes can occur, usually related to the subducting slab of the South American plate under the Caribbean Plate.
Earthquakes *cannot* be predicted – meaning the precise time, date, magnitude, depth etc. cannot be known ahead of time based on current research and technology.
Generally, in Trinidad and Tobago, a seismically active area, earthquakes of this up to M8.0 and greater are possible in area, and this statement has been repeated by seismologists at the Seismic Research Center for decades.
Each year, over 2,200 earthquakes are recorded in the Eastern Caribbean. On average, the Eastern Caribbean has seen a pattern of quakes within M7.0 to M7.9 every 20 to 30 years. That pattern has stayed true and was last seen in an event north of Martinique in 2007.
Historical patterns indicate earthquakes at and above the magnitude of 8.0 on the Richter Scale have occurred every century or so in the region. The probability of another event at that level is high since the last >M8.0 earthquake occurred in 1843.
Now is the time to create or go over your earthquake preparedness plan and know what to do during, before and after an earthquake. See here for more details: https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes
This event has been reviewed by the Venezuelan Foundation for Seismological Research and is considered final.