Puerto Rico and the USVI are rocking this weekend; More than 475 earthquakes strike the region; There is no tsunami threat at this time
Hundreds of earthquakes have struck Puerto Rico and surrounding areas in the past 30 days, including 13 in the past 24 hours. Each epicenter, with white dots reflecting older earthquakes, with the most recent in yellow and the latter in orange. The center of the red circles indicates where the strongest earthquakes occurred in the last 24 hours. Photo: USGS
Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (USVI) are rocking this weekend; With more than 485 earthquakes in the last 30 days, 121 earthquakes in the past 7 days and 13 today. The strongest attack during this continuous swarm over the past 24 hours was a 3.7-magnitude event that struck 32 miles east-southeast of Boca de Yuma, Dominican Republic, in the waters between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Most of today’s earthquakes are not far from the epicenter of the strong earthquake that struck in January 2020. This 6.4 caused severe damage in Puerto Rico, including widespread power outages across most of the island. A swarm of earthquakes started here in December 2019 and the unrest has continued ever since.
Today’s earthquakes were not strong enough to generate any kind of tsunami threat. Because of that, the National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska has not issued any tsunami bulletins based on today’s earthquakes here.
These earthquakes occur near the northern edge of the Caribbean Plate, which is a predominantly oceanic tectonic plate that lies under Central America and the Caribbean Sea off the northern coast of South America. The Caribbean Plate borders the North American Plate, the South American Plate, the Nazca Plate, and the Cocos Plate. These plate boundaries are home to ongoing seismic activity, including frequent earthquakes, occasional tsunamis, and sometimes volcanic eruptions.
The USGS continues to monitor earthquake activity in and around Puerto Rico while the Weather Service’s National Tsunami Warning Center monitors for any tsunami threats.
Two earthquakes hit Missouri today inside the larger yellow circles. The points indicate the location of the epicenter in the last 30 days. More than 20 hits around the New Madrid area at that time. Photo: USGS
There are other seismic events unfolding in the United States today. In southern Missouri, near where the violent earthquakes of 1811-1812 occurred, two earthquakes struck earlier today. In South Carolina, an unusually long-lived swarm persists in northern and eastern Columbia into the central part of that state. However, due to the distance between them, scientists say there is no connection between these seismic events across the United States.
According to the USGS, a swarm is a series of mostly small earthquakes with no identifiable main shock. “Swarms are usually short-lived, but they can last for days, weeks, or sometimes even months,” the USGS adds. However, the South Carolina event did not fit the typical definition of a swarm because the first event was much larger than the rest. However, the event taking place in Puerto Rico does not fit this definition.
In the past seven days, two earthquakes have struck North Carolina and one earthquake has struck southern South Carolina, but at least 14 more have struck outside Columbia in central South Carolina, and many of these have occurred in the past 24 hours. The points mark the epicenter of each earthquake. Photo: USGS
Tsunamis are giant waves caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions under the sea. In the depths of the ocean, tsunami waves do not get very high. But as the waves travel inland, they build up at higher and higher elevations as the ocean depth decreases. According to the National Oceanic Service, the speed of tsunami waves depends on the depth of the ocean rather than the distance from the wave source. Tsunamis may travel at the same speed as jets over deep water, and only slow down when they reach shallow water. While tsunamis are often referred to as tidal waves, this name is discouraged by oceanographers because tides have nothing to do with these giant waves.
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