Heavy quake hits Antigua on Christmas Day

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A first of two earthquakes hit the region on Christmas Day. The first was a 4.2 magnitude earthquake which was recorded on 11.56 a.m. on Wednesday at 30 km NE of Saint John’s. That quake was also felt 118 km E of Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis and 119 km N of Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe.

This is the first earthquake in three days occurring near Antigua according to the University of the West Indies (UWI), Seismic Research Centre (SRC).

The next quake would happen less than 24 hours later at 3.54 a.m 57 km NE of Fort-de-France, Martinique, 80 km SE of Roseau, Dominica and 109 km NNE of Castries, Saint Lucia.

On Thursday night, the third in what now seems like a series of low magnitude earthquakes was recorded at around 9.37 p.m.

 The 4.7 magnitude earthquake occurred 90 km South East of Saint John’s at around 9.37 on Thursday night.

Quakes could also be felt 173 km NNE of Roseau, Dominica and 81 km NE of Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe.

Head of the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) at the St Augustine campus, Dr Joan Latchman told OBSERVER media “it may be that this 4.7 that we had overnight is just filling in the gap because we expect certain numbers of earthquakes of a certain size annually and some you may have every two or three years. So t may just be filling in that gap but all of these earthquakes that we have filling in the magnitude gaps are indicative that larger folds are loading and that they will one day rupture”.

She cautions residents to always be aware that the Eastern Caribbean is vulnerable to seismic hazards, adding that large magnitude earthquakes have occurred in the past and will occur again in the future.

Dr Lutchman says on average 1 or 2 earthquakes in the 4.6 to 5 magnitude range occurs near Antigua and Barbuda each year.

She says these small quakes felt across the OECS region should remind residents to always be prepared for a bigger magnitude earthquake which has been predicted to affect the Caribbean at any time.

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