Nevis Earthquakes Triggered By Plate Tectonics

Nevis Disaster Manager - Mr. Lester Blackett

Nevis Disaster Manager – Mr. Lester Blackett

Charlestown, Nevis
November 04, 2008

Director of the Nevis Disaster Management Office, Mr. Lester Blackett during a routine Emergency response Press Conference announced Monday that the earthquake felt on Nevis Sunday at approximately 4:05 am local time, was consistent with tectonics event and was not linked to volcanic activity. Blacket based this revelation on the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Unit (SRU) Scientific Advisory on earthquakes and volcanoes activities for most of the Easterm Caribbean countries.

He explained that in 16 years, St Kitts and Nevis experienced an unprecedented amount of earthquakes, mainly attributed by the Caribbean plate boundary, situated just north of Puerto Rico (PR) and just east of most of the Caribbean Islands. This he said accounted for the many earthquakes documented on the Caribbean Scale and assured the nation that the series of recent earthquakes activity on Nevis, are normally what has happened over hundreds of thousands of years.

The earthquake occurred 11 miles off the east of Nevis with preliminary magnitude measured at 4.5 and preliminary location at 17.45 degrees north and 62.27 degrees west, at a focal depth of 22 miles. The earthquakes were reportedly felt in St Kitts and Nevis with no reported injuries or damages.

Mr Blackett confirmed the Sunday Morning 4.5 magnitude earthquake was preceded by a series of earthquakes on November 01, which were located in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) and Puerto Rico (PR) regions, close to the boundaries of the Caribbean Tectonic Plates.

He gave an overview of Plate Tectonics activity in the Caribbean region.

“Much of the world’s earthquake and volcanic activity takes place along plate boundaries. At these plate boundaries, the plates interacted with each other, others spread apart and others moved towards each other with crumpling or one dipping beneath the other.

“The Eastern Caribbean is an example of an island ARC system formed in a Convergent Plate Boundary, more specifically at a subduction zone, where two tectonics plates meet and the denser plate is forced beneath the lighter plate.” This he said mainly caused volcanic and seismic activitiy in the eastern Caribbean.

Blackett warned of secondary shockwaves of lower magnitude which is expected to follow the main quake and offered protective measures to families, to be executed before and after an earthquake.

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