Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Planetary Tremors: Swarm of Quakes along the Caribbean Plates!


Things are really heating up on planet Earth and we are witnessing the planetary tremors escalate each day as we move towards an imminent geological upheaval.

An ongoing succession of earthquakes has been occurring over the last day or two along the Puerto Rico Trench. This is a subduction zone, similiar to the Cascadia and Sumatra subduction zones.

The Trench is the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean, and the second deepest part of the Earth's oceans, with a maximum depth of more than 8 km (5 miles), at Milwaukee Deep. The trench marks the location where the North American Plate is being subducted beneath the Caribbean Plate.



The following constitutes a short listing of the recent earthquakes:

MAP 3.1 2011/04/05 06:40:37 19.098 -66.527 25.1 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 3.5 2011/04/05 06:34:30 19.102 -66.514 17.7 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 3.1 2011/04/05 06:11:46 19.097 -66.503 30.0 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 3.0 2011/04/05 06:00:10 19.123 -66.513 25.1 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 3.1 2011/04/05 05:49:58 19.118 -66.511 15.5 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 2.9 2011/04/05 03:42:05 19.155 -66.490 21.0 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 2.8 2011/04/05 01:20:46 19.143 -66.483 16.5 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 2.7 2011/04/05 01:18:24 19.112 -66.491 14.0 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 3.1 2011/04/05 01:09:42 19.115 -66.498 25.0 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 2.8 2011/04/05 01:04:30 19.090 -66.501 11.0 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 3.0 2011/04/05 01:03:12 19.085 -66.508 11.1 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 3.0 2011/04/05 01:01:35 19.123 -66.523 14.9 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 2.7 2011/04/05 00:44:07 19.055 -66.514 6.4 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 2.7 2011/04/05 00:34:47 19.103 -66.492 14.1 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 3.1 2011/04/05 00:28:39 19.115 -66.509 14.0 PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 2.9 2011/04/05 00:14:36 19.008 -66.486 5.9 PUERTO RICO REGION

Scientists are now collecting data that could better help predict an event which would have devastating consequences as the result of a tsunami hitting the Caribbean region and the US east coastline. If confirmed by analysis of the recently acquired ocean-bottom seismometers (OBS) data, the locations of the tremors at the plate interface may have profound implications about the capability of the Puerto Rico Trench subduction zone to generate large earthquakes and following tsunami. The tectonic profile of the Puerto Rico Trench subduction zone is sometimes compared to that of the Sumatra subduction zone, the site of the earthquake that triggered the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 killing some 250,000 people. This similarity has caused great interest in the research of a potential tsunami hazard to the United States east coast and the northeastern Caribbean.

See more at the Seismological Study of Earthquake Swarms in South-Eastern Puerto Rico.

Recently a Caribbean Tsunami Warning Exercise was conducted by UNESCO and the IOC Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean Sea and Adjacent Regions. The exercise was called Caribe Wave 11/Lantex 11.

This tsunami exercise is being conducted to assist tsunami preparedness efforts throughout the Caribbean region. Recent events, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean, 2009 Samoa, and 2010 Haiti and Chile earthquakes and tsunamis, attest to the importance of proper planning for tsunami response. Historical tsunami records from sources such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) show that over 75 tsunamis with validity greater than 1 have been observed in the Caribbean over the past 500 years (Figure 1). These represent approximately 7-10% of the world’s oceanic tsunamis. Earthquake, landslide, and volcanic tsunami sources have all impacted the region. Since 1842 at least 3,510 people have lost their lives to tsunamis in the Caribbean. In recent years, there has been an explosive population growth and influx of tourists along the Caribbean coasts increasing the tsunami vulnerability of the region. In addition to the tsunamis, the region also has a long history of destructive earthquakes. Historical records show that major earthquakes have struck the Caribbean region many times during the past 500 years. - Caribe Wave 11/Lantex 11 Handbook

It definitely seems that another major earthquake, similar in magnitude or higher than the one that hit Haiti last year is expected.

Stay tuned.