8:36AM: Minor Earthquake West of Trinidad

At 8:36AM Sunday 3rd February 2019, a Magnitude 3.9 earthquake occurred at 34.6 KM S of Carúpano, Venezuela and 196 KM WSW of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. This event occurred at ashallow depth of 28.4 KM. It was not reported felt across Trinidad.

Note that this information is from the Venezuelan Foundation for Seismological Research (FUNVISIS) and is considered final.

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. 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 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. See here for more details.

This event has been reviewed by the Venezuelan Foundation for Seismological Research and is considered final.

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