At 9:02PM Tuesday 15th January 2019, a Magnitude 4.3 earthquake occurred 70 KM Southeast of Mayaro and 121.4 km SSE of Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago. This event occurred at a moderate depth of 88.0 kilometers. It was reported felt across parts of Southern Trinidad, including Rio Claro, Chatham, Princes Town & Debe.
Based on the updated location, this earthquake likely occurred within the seismic zone 8. At this location, earthquakes are typically moderate in depth, generally less than 70 kilometers. This event was uncharacteristic for the area, occurring at a deeper depth of 88.0 kilometers, occurring within the subducting slap of the South American plate.
This is an updated solution based on a major revision from the U.W.I. Seismic Research Centre.
Previously, using the SRC’s preliminary automated solution, this event was located on land, NE of Arima as seen below.
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 up to M8.0 and greater are possible in area, and this statement has been repeated by seismologists at the Seismic Research Center for decades.
Each year, over 2,200 earthquakes are recorded in the Eastern Caribbean. On average, the Eastern Caribbean has seen a pattern of quakes within M7.0 to M7.9 every 20 to 30 years. That pattern has stayed true and was last seen in an event north of Martinique in 2007.
Historical patterns indicate earthquakes at and above the magnitude of 8.0 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: https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes
This event has been reviewed by an analyst at the U.W.I. Seismic Research Centre.