BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – A 6.5 -magnitude earthquake was recorded in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis early Saturday morning, (March 19). Consequently, this was followed by a weaker tremor.
Such an event took place at about 7:26 (a.m.). the shaking from which caused persons to be alarmed (in shock) as they were awoken by the shaking while others slept through the ordeal.
Of the islands exposed, the largest populations in the affected area were that of Saint John’s, (Antigua) and Basseterre, the capital of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies.
Fortunately, for the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda, Saturday’s tremor was centered sufficiently far from the Leeward Islands to lead to any significant damage, and was too weak to trigger a tsunami.
Though the tremor was registered at a 6.0 off the coast of Barbuda according to the US Geological Survey, the UWI Seismic Research Centre indicates that the quake registered at 6.5 on the Ritcher Scale. Initial reports indicate that light shaking was felt as far south as Dominica and as far west as St. Martin. Minimal damage was seen on neighbouring islands.
According to the UWI Seismic Research Centre, the first earthquake was located 18.04N, 60.73W or 237 kilometers to the northeast of St. Kitts and Nevis and 161 kilometers to the northeast of Antigua and Barbuda.
Moreover, the second earthquake measured at 3.9 on the Ritcher Scale and was registered at 7:34 a.m. at 17.81N and 60.83W or 219 kilometers to the east-northeast of St. Kitts and Nevis and 137 kilometers to the northeast of Antigua and Barbuda.
While neighbouring islands were fortunate to avoid significant damage, earthquakes in the Caribbean can be widely destructive. For instance, in January 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake killed at least 160,000 and displaced another 1.5 million in Haiti.