At 10:33AM Friday 4th January 2019, a Magnitude 4.6 earthquake occurred 42 km NNW of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and 57.2 km NW of Arima, Trinidad and Tobago. This event occurred at a moderate depth of 40.0 kilometers. It was widely reported felt across Northern Trinidad and parts of Central Trinidad.
Based on the depth and location of this earthquake, north of Trinidad, it occurred just on the boundary of the Caribbean Plate and the subducting slab of the South American plate, within seismic zone 4.
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 the Eastern Caribbean, 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.
Related: Earthquake Safety
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 NOT been reviewed by an analyst at the U.W.I. Seismic Research Centre. It was automatically located by a seismological computational system; therefore, it is a PRELIMINARY result and this may vary when new additional data are processed.