Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018

Trinidad and Tobago urged to remain earthquake alert

Trinidad and Tobago urged to remain earthquake alert
07 Nov
2018

The Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Wednesday said that Trinidad and Tobago must continue to ensure that all necessary measures are in place to respond appropriately to any large magnitude earthquake which may potentially cause significant damage and loss of life.

The SRC said that the oil rich twin-island republic would continue to experience earthquakes in keeping with the pattern expected after it experienced a 6.9 magnitude quake in August.

Trinidad and Tobago has over the past nine days recorded quakes with magnitudes ranging from 4.2 to 4.5 and the SRC said that “moderate to strong earthquakes such as these, are usually associated with aftershocks, with those at shallow depth producing a higher number

“The earthquakes currently being recorded, in the Gulf of Paria, with some being felt, is in keeping with the pattern expected after such events. The other areas around Trinidad will continue to produce their normal annual magnitude output; on average, we expect just over 50 events of magnitude greater than 3.5 every year.

“In that context, given the two areas in the Gulf of Paria that are currently adjusting following significant magnitude earthquakes and the annual, expected events in the other, surrounding zones, the earthquake activity being seen is normal,” the SRC added.

On August 21, the country was rocked by a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 causing widespread panic and damage to several buildings. No one was killed.

The SRC said that the quake, which occurred off the coast of eastern Venezuela, about 130 km west of Port of Spain, with a depth of 127 km, was widely reported as felt in Trinidad and Tobago and neighbouring islands.

It said that in addition, during the period 26th-28th January, 2018, there was a burst of more than 20 earthquakes in the Gulf of Paria, about 70 km south-west of Port of Spain; the largest was of magnitude 5.3 at a depth of 23 km.

The SRC said that the activity currently being recorded has little bearing on the larger magnitude earthquakes, like the one that occurred in 1766 with a magnitude of 7.9 “that can happen at any time.

“Therefore, we here in Trinidad and Tobago, along with all relevant, regional agencies and communities, must continue to ensure that all necessary measures are in place to respond appropriately to any large magnitude earthquake which may potentially cause significant damage and loss of life,” the SRC added.