1:13AM: Light Earthquake SE of St. Vincent, Shaking Reported

UPDATE: At 1:13AM Wednesday 27th February 2019, a Magnitude 4.5 earthquake occurred 72.3 km SE of Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines and 121.4 km WSW of Bridgetown, Barbados. This event occurred at a shallow-moderate depth of 53.0 KM.

It was reported felt across parts of St Vincent & The Grenadines, with a very brief jolt. This event has not been reported felt in Trinidad and Tobago. There is no tsunami threat.

Note that this information is from the U.W.I. Seismic Research Centre and is reviewed, updated from the preliminary solution.

The reviewed solution from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has this event with similar parameters of magnitude 4.5, at a similar position of 12.786°N 60.664°W but at a deeper depth of 65.6 kilometers.

Earthquakes in this particular area, between Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, occur at varying depths, ranging generally from 10-110 kilometers. The depth of the quake can tell us if it occurred in the overriding Caribbean Plate, or the subducting South American Plate.

In this region, the subducting South American plate starts at approximately 50 kilometers below the surface. Hence, following the UWI SRC’s and USGS’ reviewed depths, this earthquake occurred within the subducting slab of the South American Plate, near the area where the Caribbean and South American plate meet.

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 this area, earthquakes up to magnitude 5.5 are possible, based on historical seismicity. However, in the greater Eastern Caribbean, earthquakes of this magnitude, up to M8.0 and greater, are possible in area, and this statement has been repeated by seismologists at the U.W.I. Seismic Research Centre for decades.

Each year, over 2,200 seismic events are recorded in the Eastern Caribbean. On average, the Eastern Caribbean has seen a pattern of major (M7.0-M7.9) quakes every 20 to 30 years. That pattern has stayed true. The last major (M7.0-7.9) quake occurred north of Martinique in 2007. 

Historical patterns indicate great earthquakes (M8.0+) 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.

Related: Earthquake Safety

This event has been reviewed by an analyst at the U.W.I. Seismic Research Centre.

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