TEGUCIGALPA, Jan. 10, CMC – A 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean region between the coast of Honduras and the Cayman Islands late Tuesday – one of the strongest quakes to hit the region in recent times.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said the Central American nation had activated its emergency system and asked people to remain calm.
The earthquake was also felt across northern Central America, this prompted the US Tsunami Warning Centre to issue a statement that hazardous tsunami waves were possible within 621 miles of the quake’s epicentre.
These included the coastal areas of Jamaica, Mexico, Cuba, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Cayman Islands, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
According to the US Geological Survey, the quake was very shallow and this would have amplified the effect of a tsunami
The US Tsunami Center later cancelled the alert, but warned some parts of Honduras and Belize were still at risk from waves of up to a metre.
In Honduras, firefighters said some residents in southern neighborhoods fled their homes after feeling the tremors.
There were no reports of damage.
The magnitude 7.6 earthquake was one of the strongest ever measured in the region, occurred almost eight years after a 7.0 magnitude quake devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that ninety-two earthquakes were recorded in Jamaica last year.
Scientific Officer at the Earthquake Unit at The University of the West Indies Mona Campus, Karleen Black, says felt earthquake reports were received for eight events with magnitudes ranging from 3.1 to 3.6.
Speaking at the launch of Earthqukae Awareness Week on Monday, Black said while Jamaica has experienced several tremors, the last major event was the great Kingston earthquake of 1907, which caused more than 1,000 deaths, damaged numerous buildings and started several fires.
The 1692 Port Royal quake was perhaps the largest and most damaging, with about 5,000 deaths from the quake itself and the subsequent outbreak of yellow fever. A section of the town sank into the sea.
Earthquake Awareness Week is being observed from January 7-13 under the theme ‘Preparing for the Quake Helps Reduce Damage After the Shakes’.