How did T&T escape devastation?

A car which was destroyed after piece of the wall from Roxy Pizza Hut fell on it yesterday after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake.

(Trinidad Express) Why was Trinidad and Tobago not devastated by Tuesday’s 6.9 magnitude earthquake when a quake measuring 7.0 wiped out parts of Haiti and killed hundreds of thousands of people?

The reason, says head of The UWI’s Seismic Research Centre Dr Joan Latchman was because of depth and distance.

Citizens of T&T should consider themselves extremely lucky, she said.

Latchman is also reminding citizens that they should have a ‘hazard bag’ with essential supplies in the event there is a more destructive tremor.

And while it is impossible to say if Tuesday’s quake was a ‘foreshock’ to a bigger event, Latchman said that it can happen at any time.

Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake happened in January 2010.

Latchman said: “The Haiti quake was very close in energy to the energy released yesterday. The difference is that in Haiti, it occurred 10 kilometres from Port-Au-Prince (the capital) and at a depth of 10 kilometres. And you had poorly constructed structures in Port-Au-Prince, and a population of millions. It was a virtual perfect storm”.

The official Haitian government count put the death toll at more than 300,000, with hundreds of thousands of survivors displaced. The country has never fully recovered.

Latchman said that Tuesday’s quake was 130 kilometres deep and at a considerable distance from Port of Spain “so those are the factors that have contributed to the lower levels of damage in Trinidad and Tobago”

She said that if Tuesday’s quake was at the same depth and distance as the Haiti tragedy, Trinidad and Tobago country would have seen widespread destruction.


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