Ten earthquakes have hit Trinidad and Tobago in two weeks

A damaged vehicle in the Trinity Cathedral carpark following an earthquake.

(Trinidad Guardian) Trinidad and To­ba­go record­ed its tenth earth­quake in the space of two weeks on Fri­day night.

The Seis­mic Re­search Cen­tre at the Uni­ver­si­ty of the West In­dies’ St Au­gus­tine cam­pus con­firmed that the lat­est tremor was felt in sec­tions of the is­land around 9.13pm Fri­day and mea­sured a mag­ni­tude of 4.5. The tremor was lo­cat­ed at Lat­i­tude: 10.56N Lon­gi­tude: 61.95W and had a depth of 10 km.

It was felt in Port-of-Spain, San Fer­nan­do and Ari­ma.

Dr Joan Lutch­man

Con­tact­ed by the Sun­day Guardian, Seis­mol­o­gist at the UWI SRC, Dr Joan Lutch­man, said she could not con­firm if Fri­day night’s tremor was linked to Au­gust’s 6.9 mag­ni­tude earth­quake.

“We are hav­ing two se­ries of events go­ing on. We have what hap­pened (earth­quakes) on Au­gust 21 and Jan­u­ary 26. The lo­ca­tion looks to me like it was one of those, more so the one from the 21st but I haven’t got an up­dat­ed so­lu­tion as yet,” Lutch­man said.

Lutch­man al­so re­it­er­at­ed that fol­low­ing the 6.9 quake on Au­gust 21, she did warn that re­lat­ed tremors could be felt months ahead and this was noth­ing new. She said the af­ter­shocks which came fast and fu­ri­ous af­ter the Au­gust 21 tremor would con­tin­ue, but as time passed these quakes would be­come small­er and small­er.

How­ev­er, Lutch­man did in­di­cate that while some of the an­tic­i­pat­ed larg­er af­ter­shocks were yet to be seen but can still oc­cur.

Apart from the larg­er mag­ni­tude of a 6.0 felt one day af­ter the “mon­ster quake” on Au­gust 22, Lutch­man said there had been no “fives” (5.1-5.5 mag­ni­tude range) as­so­ci­at­ed with the 6.9 mag­ni­tude quake. Rather, she said some (fives) were as­so­ci­at­ed with the Jan­u­ary 26, 2018, tremor, which was record­ed at a mag­ni­tude 5.1 and oc­curred at 76 km west-south-west of San Fer­nan­do and 96 km south-west of Port of Spain, just off Ica­cos Point, south­west­ern Trinidad at a depth of 10 kilo­me­tres.

“When we had the 6 (tremor) it was not that strong­ly felt here in Trinidad, it cer­tain­ly did not cause the kind of alarm that we had from the 6.9, so any­thing low­er than the 6, we will not get that lev­el of shak­ing,” Lutch­man said.

Asked if af­ter­shocks could pos­si­bly con­tin­ue in­to the New Year, Lutch­man made ref­er­ence to the 1988 earth­quake which oc­curred off the east coast of Trinidad. That quake mea­sured 6.3 in mag­ni­tude and had af­ter­shocks last­ing well in­to sev­er­al months there­after. She said peo­ple do not be­lieve that af­ter­shocks can last that long but they can in fact con­tin­ue that long.

“It takes a while, we must re­mem­ber that these process­es are slow process­es, our plates are con­verg­ing at two cen­time­tres per an­num at a very slow rate, and so when things hap­pen in our earth­quake sys­tems, it takes time to ad­just and set­tles very slow­ly.

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