10:34PM: Light Earthquake NE of Tobago

According to preliminary information from the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center, at 10:34PM Tuesday 30th April 2019, a Magnitude 4.2 (Md) light earthquake occurred 156 km SE of Bridgetown, Barbados and 208 km NE of Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago. This event occurred at an intermediate depth of 107 Kilometers.

Note that across the globe, different seismic monitoring agencies use different methods, or several methods, for processing earthquake parameters. Each method has its limitations and will likely produce different results within the ranges of uncertainty of that data. This is generally accepted within the scientific community. At this time, no other seismological organizations have published solutions for this event.

Related: Earthquake Magnitude & Intensity

Earthquakes northeast of Tobago are relatively uncommon, with only six quakes occurring within 20 kilometers of the epicenter of this quake since 1950. These earthquakes ranged from magnitudes 3.5 to 4.4. and depths between 9.8 to 35 kilometers. This earthquake is likely the deepest recorded in modern times for the area. Just a jog to the west however, near 11.88°N, 59.14°W and 12°N, 59.1°W, two earthquakes were recorded by the UWI Seismic Research Center but magnitudes were not reliably calculated occurred at a similar depth of 125 kilometers and 100 kilometers on March 16th 1977 and January 31st 1956 respectively.

Earthquakes *cannot* be predicted – meaning the precise time, date, magnitude, depth etc. cannot be known ahead of time based on current research and technology.

Related: Earthquake Prediction and Forecasting

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.

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