Seismologist at the University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Centre (SRC)Dr Joan Latchman has cautioned residents of the region that aftershocks from Tuesday evening’s strong quake in eastern Venezuela can be expected for days to come.
Another earthquake is also possible, she said late Tuesday.
There have been early reports of structural damage to buildings, as well as cracks in floors and roads after the earthquake that the Trinidad-based SRC measured at a magnitude of 6.8 but the United States Geological Survey upgraded to 7.3, hit eastern Venezuela around 5:31 p.m.
The SRC put the earthquake at a depth of 73 kilometres, and its position in Venezuela at 55 km east southeast of Carúpano, 95 km northeast of Maturín, and 131 km southeast of Porlamar.
The tremor was not only felt in the Spanish-speaking nation, but in other Caribbean countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Grenada, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Witnesses reported seeing and feeling their homes, and even some of the contents, shaking when the quake hit
Speaking in a Facebook live video about an hour after the quake occurred, Dr Latchman said there would be more tremors, noting that up to that point there had been at least seven aftershocks.
“…most of which you would not feel, but we can have an earthquake of this magnitude…and we expect that we can have an earthquake in the 5.0 to 5.9 magnitude range and this can happen within hours. Going by what we have seen in the past, within three to five hours we would not be surprised, or tomorrow, or sometime this week,” she said.
“There is no formula for us to tell you when the aftershocks will occur. We were just looking at patterns of the past to guide.”
Despite initial reports to the contrary, there was no tsunami threat from the earthquake.