HAVANA – A powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck in the Caribbean Sea between Jamaica and eastern Cuba on Tuesday. Witnesses reported strong shaking but there was no immediate word of casualties or heavy damage.
About three hours later, a massive 6.3 magnitude aftershock struck. A tsunami is not expected, according to the National Weather Service.
A tsunami threat message was issued by the US National Weather Service’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center after the initial earthquake. The weather service said there is a threat of tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meter (about 1 to 3 feet) above tide level for the coasts of Jamaica, Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico and the Cayman Islands.
Aftershocks are still rumbling across the Mid-Cayman Spreading Center (green dashed area) from that strong #earthquake a few hours ago. No #Tsunami threat for the US but #Caribbean islands did like feel effects of elevated waves @KPRC2 pic.twitter.com/Ej9VF8wlUE— Justin Stapleton (@KPRC2Justin) January 28, 2020
The quake was centered 139 kilometers (86 miles) northwest of Montego Bay, Jamaica, and 140 kilometers (87 miles) west-southwest of Niquero, Cuba. It hit at 2:10 p.m. (1910 GMT) and the epicenter was a relatively shallow 10 kilometers (6 miles) beneath the surface.
The quake could be felt strongly in Santiago, the largest city in eastern Cuba, said Belkis Guerrero, who works in a Catholic cultural center in the center of Santiago
“We were all sitting and we felt the chairs move,” she said. “We heard the noise of everything moving around.”
She said there was no apparent damage in the heart of the colonial city.