The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported a powerful, 7.7-magnitude earthquake in the strait between Jamaica and Cuba on Tuesday afternoon.
A tsunami warning was issued for Jamaica, Cuba, Belize, Honduras and the Cayman Islands, but that threat has now passed.
The earthquake was reported at a depth of 10 kilometers, 117 kilometers northwest of Lucea, Jamaica. It was initially reported as a 7.3-magnitude but was quickly upgraded to a 7.7-magnitude.
Residents of Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, on the far side of the island reported on the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) website they felt a strong quake that lasted between 30 and 40 seconds.
A M7.7 has been reported northwest of Jamaica. It appears to be the transform fault boundary between the North American and Caribbean plates. pic.twitter.com/jpVq5fmtJg
— Dr. Lucy Jones (@DrLucyJones) January 28, 2020
The quake was reportedly felt as far away as the Mexican coastline. One person who said they were from Othon Blanco in Quintana Roo state wrote: “As I was laying on my bed I started to see how all the plants started to move and the bed moved it just felt really strange because the whole hotel was moving just a little bit and I could see the water in the glass moving. But normally this is not something that happens here.”
There was just a 7.3 magnitude earth quake in Jamaica.
In my apt in Miami – this just happened.
Could feel the whole building swaying.
— Nunya Bizniz (@Pladizow) January 28, 2020
A magnitude-6.1 aftershock was reported by the USGS close to the Cayman Islands a little more than two hours after the initial quake.
The earthquake is one of the strongest to have ever hit Jamaica, possibly the strongest ever. Past destructive quakes have included the deadly 1907 quake that hit Kingston, estimated at magnitude 6.5, and the catastrophic 1692 quake that submerged the old city of Kingston, which is judged to have been roughly a 7.5-magnitude quake.