At 11:15 AM on Sunday 4th August 2019, a preliminary Magnitude 4.0 (Md or Mt) earthquake occurred 6.83 KM SE of Point Fortin, Trinidad and Tobago and 14.37 KM W of Siparia, Trinidad and Tobago.
Several other nearby cities to this quake:
– 8.64 KM N of Los Iros
– 20.66 KM W of Penal
– 26.00 KM SW of San Fernando
– 34.00 KM SW of Princes Town
– 60.60 KM SSW of Port of Spain
This event occurred at a shallow depth of 16.67 Kilometers. This information (above) is preliminary from the U.W.I. Seismic Research Centre, the authority for seismic and volcanological information in the Eastern Caribbean. Quake parameters such as location, depth, and magnitude may change upon review from a seismologist at the SRC.
This event was widely reported felt across Southern Trinidad, with few reports from Central Trinidad. A short jolt, lasting no longer than a couple of seconds was reported. You can submit your felt reports to the U.W.I. Seismic Research Center.
Based on the location and depth of this earthquake, it is tectonic in origin and occurred within seismic zone 6, the on-land Trinidad.
Trinidad is a highly faulted area, with several fault systems running across the island – all due to compensation of the lateral movement of the Caribbean and South American plates. There are several major fault systems that run across, on land, Trinidad including the El Pilar Fault system, the Central Range Fault, Northern Range Fault, Darien Ridge, Los Bajos Fault and the Arima Fault. Earthquakes on-land across Trinidad are typically less than 50 kilometers.
This earthquake, based on its location, occurred on the Skinner Fault, a normal fault, that meets with the Los Bajos Fault, a strike-slip fault, to its north. Large earthquakes, or even felt earthquakes are seldom in this area, with only 13 quakes reported since 1960. Of these quakes, the largest was a magnitude 4.3 occurring on June 24th, 1998, near Point Fortin.
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, across the Eastern Caribbean, a seismically active area, earthquakes of this magnitude, up to M8.0 and greater, are possible 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.