5.8 magnitude earthquake strikes off Guadeloupe

guadeloupe-earthquakePOINT-A-PITRE, Guadeloupe, Friday December 19, 2014 – A 5.8 magnitude earthquake centred 13km north-west of Guadeloupe – and felt in Antigua, Nevis, Dominica and Martinique – is the latest seismic event to rattle the Eastern Caribbean in the past week.

Today’s earthquake was the strongest for the month so far in the Caribbean region, and the second off the island of Guadeloupe in as many weeks.

On December 11, a 3.8 magnitude quake struck 68 km off the Guadeloupe capital of Point-a-Pitre, followed by a 3.9 magnitude quake 60 km from Port of Spain, Trinidad on December 15. Two stronger quakes also jolted the region earlier this month, with magnitudes of 4.5 and 5.0 off Carúpano, Venezuela, and Castries, St. Lucia respectively.

The region’s largest earthquake for the year occurred in February, with a strong 6.4 magnitude quake off Barbados, which affected several neighbouring islands.

All told, with a December 6 tremor south of Grenada, the region has recorded six seismic events for the month.

The Director of the Seismic Research Unit of the University of the West Indies, Dr. Joan Latchman, has long warned the Caribbean to be prepared for a massive quake in the future. Speaking to the media shortly after February’s quake, the seismologist warned that “every day that passes, the occurrence of that earthquake is closer to us. And certainly the activity that we are seeing in the region is a cause for concern that this earthquake may be a little sooner than later.”

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