Thursday, April 14, 2011

Shake Rattle & Roll

Another site I stumbled across while looking for a decent weather report the other day, was for the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDMA). Interestingly, the Virgin Islands have had 2 earthquakes in as many weeks.

On March 24th, an earthquake measuring a magnitude of 4.1 on the Richter Scale was felt throughout Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands at approximately 12:13pm. Then yesterday (April 13th), there was a slightly larger one, measuring a magnitude of 4.96 on the Richter Scale, felt throughout the Virgin Islands at approximately 12:28am.

I did a Google search to see if there was any damage, only to find other articles reporting the earthquakes at varying magnitudes, ranging all the way up to 5.3. None of them reported any damage though, so that's good.

I then did a search on St Kitts earthquake and learned that our last one was on Feb 2nd at magnitude 5.2. This was not long after a 5.1 I knew about on Jan 21st. That made me wonder how big they get around here and it looks like the worst one to hit in recent history was in 2007, when the island (and others) was shaken by a 7.3 whopper scaring everyone and causing damage. The thing was felt all the way down to Venezuela! Had a tsunami been generated, it would have been right on schedule (see below paragraph). There's a list of the major earthquakes here if you're interested.

There are actually over 1200 recorded earthquakes each year in this area. The worst one to ever hit the Eastern Caribbean was in 1843, at what they think was over magnitude 8. This, of course, got me curious about tsunamis. Yes, I was a researcher for 14 years, I can't help myself (I do this while I drink my morning soda). So I learned that there have only been 10 destructive waves in the area in 500 years. I thought that sounded pretty good overall, until I learned that the last one was in 1946 and they seem to happen every 50 years. Hmm...

Did I mention hurricanes (worst ones 1998/1999)? Sheesh! Good thing I don't get paranoid about this sort of thing! Normally I think knowledge is power, but in this case, I'm not sure that knowledge is all that helpful (although it is interesting). If we have an earthquake and our place collapses, what could we have really done to prepare for that? You can't even store goods for such an occasion because they'd all be at the bottom of the rubble. If a tsunami came our way all we could do is hope we had enough notice to get to high ground. It is what it is - the earth is a volatile place. Well, we'll focus on the sun and rum and hope that the odds are against the other stuff for a while...ever....