Cayman Islands earthquake 2020: Magnitude 7.7 earthquake triggers tsunami wave

January 28, 2020: A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.7 has struck in the Caribbean, prompting brief tsunami warnings and office evacuations as far away as Florida.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake hit between Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba at a depth of 10 km.

Offices were temporarily evacuated in Miami and parts of Jamaica.

A tsunami of 0.4 feet was recorded in the Cayman Islands at George Town, but no tsunami was observed at Port Royal, Jamaica, or Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

The quake hit 125 kilometers (77.6 miles) north-northwest of Lucea in Jamaica.

There are no initial reports of damage or casualties.

Tectonic Summary of the Earthquake

According to the USGS, magnitude 7.7 earthquake in the Caribbean Sea to the south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica occurred as the result of strike-slip faulting on the plate boundary between the North America and Caribbean tectonic plates. 

At the location of this earthquake, the North America plate moves to the west-southwest with respect to the Caribbean plate at a rate of approximately 19 mm/yr.

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