6:52PM: Light Earthquake WSW of Trinidad. Did you feel it?

At 6:52PM Sunday 10th February 2019, a preliminary Magnitude 4.8 earthquake occurred at a preliminary location of 98 km WSW of San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago and 112 km SW of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. This event occurred at a shallow depth of 10.0 KM. It was reported felt across parts of Southern & Western Trinidad, with a very brief jolt.

Note that this information is from the U.W.I. Seismic Research Centre and is preliminary. Reviewed solutions from the USGS and FUNVISIS both have slightly different solutions, of magnitudes M4.7 and M4.3 respectively. Both seismic organizations do have this earthquake located further east, in the south-central area of the Gulf of Paria, a more characteristic location for quakes, given that the SRC’s preliminary location is further west, near on-land Eastern Venezuela.

Based on the location and depth of the reviewed solutions 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 as the Los Bajos and Warm Springs faults from on-land Trinidad meets the El Pilar fault. Here, seismicity is fairly high, with earthquakes generally shallow to moderate depth, up to 50 kilometers deep.

The UWI SRC has stated during a Q&A of the earthquake swarm between January and February 2018, this location is capable of generating a magnitude 6.5 or greater earthquake.

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 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.

This post will be updated accordingly.

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