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2020 Caribbean earthquake

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2020 Caribbean earthquake
2020-01-28 Lucea, Jamaica M7.7 earthquake shakemap (USGS).jpg
Shakemap from USGS
2020 Caribbean earthquake is located in Caribbean
2020 Caribbean earthquake
UTC time2020-01-28 19:10:25
ISC event
Local date28 January 2020 (2020-01-28)
Local time14:10:25
Magnitude7.7 Mw[1]
Depth10.0 km (6 mi)
Epicenter19°26′24″N 78°45′18″W / 19.440°N 78.755°W / 19.440; -78.755Coordinates: 19°26′24″N 78°45′18″W / 19.440°N 78.755°W / 19.440; -78.755
FaultSeptentrional-Oriente fault zone
Areas affectedCaribbean
Max. intensityVI (Strong)
Tsunami12.2 cm (0.4 ft) at George Town, Cayman Islands
AftershocksUp to 6.1 Mw[2]

At 2:10 p.m. local time (UTC-5) on 28 January 2020, an earthquake of 7.7 Mw struck on the north side of the Cayman Trough, north of Jamaica and west of the southern tip of Cuba, with the epicenter being 83 miles north of Montego Bay.[3] Schools in Jamaica and buildings in Miami were evacuated after shaking was observed in parts of the U.S. state of Florida.[4][5] Light shaking was also reported on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.[6] It is the largest earthquake in the Caribbean since 1946.[7] A tsunami warning for the Caribbean Sea was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and later withdrawn.[8]


At 2:10 p.m. local time (UTC-5) on 28 January 2020 a strike-slip event occurred 125 kilometers (77.7 miles) NNW of Lucea, Jamaica, on the plate boundary between the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate[1] at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).[9] The USGS estimated that there was a very low probability of landslides or liquefaction.[10]


Cayman Islands[edit]

There were cracked roads and sinkholes.[11] A minor tsunami of 12.2 cm (0.4 ft) was recorded.[12]


A six-story building on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies, containing approximately 300 students, was evacuated.[13]

Students and staff of Merl Grove High School evacuated every building and gathered orderly at designated assembly points on the campus.


Tremors were felt on the southern coast of the island. A spokesman for Guantanamo Bay Naval Base stated that there were no reports of damages or injuries. [14]

United States[edit]

Tremors were felt throughout southern Florida and several buildings were evacuated, particularly in Miami-Dade County (450 miles away) and the Florida Keys.[15] Several government buildings in Downtown Miami were evacuated, initially on a volunteer basis until a full evacuation was ordered by the local fire department.[16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 ANSS. "Cayman Trough 2020 : M 7.7 - 125km NNW of Lucea, Jamaica". Comprehensive Catalog. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 28 January 2020
  2. "6.1-magnitude tremor follows 7.7-magnitude earthquake between Cuba and Jamaica". Global News. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  3. Allen, Karma (28 January 2020). "Powerful earthquake strikes between Jamaica and Cuba". ABC. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  4. Almasy, Steve; Eshchenko (28 January 2020). "Tsunami threat message issued after magnitude 7.7 earthquake off the coast of Jamaica". CNN. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  5. Dalton, Jane (28 January 2020). "Jamaica earthquake: Huge 7.7-magnitude tremor hits off island's coast". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  6. Rice, Doyle (28 January 2020). "Powerful 7.7 earthquake strikes in Caribbean between Cuba and Jamaica". USA Today. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  7. Cappucci, Matthew; Samenow, Jason (28 January 2020). "7.7-magnitude earthquake strikes between Jamaica and Cuba, one of the strongest on record in Caribbean". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  8. "Caribbean earthquake of 7.7 prompts office evacuations in Miami". BBC News. 28 January 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  9. "Large M7.7 Caribbean Quake Felt as Far Away as Florida". www.usgs.gov. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  10. "M 7.7 - 125km NNW of Lucea, Jamaica". earthquake.usgs.gov. 28 January 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. Mindock, Clark (28 January 2020). "Jamaica earthquake - live updates: Caribbean rocked by huge tremor near Cuba, with buildings evacuated in parts of US". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  12. Steve Almasy; Brandon Miller; Alla Eshchenko. "Magnitude 7.7 earthquake strikes off the coast of Jamaica and is felt as far away as Miami". CNN. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  13. "Tsunami warning after Jamaica hit by 7.7 magnitude earthquake - follow live". The Independent. 28 January 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  14. Press, The Associated (29 January 2020). "7.7 magnitude earthquake strikes between Cuba and Jamaica". WPBF. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  15. "Miami Buildings Shake After Powerful Earthquake Between Cuba and Jamaica". NBC 6 South Florida. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  16. Charles, Jacqueline; Torres, Nora Gámez; Ocasio, Bianca Padró (28 January 2020). "Powerful Caribbean earthquake shakes buildings in Jamaica, Cuba — even downtown Miami". Miami Herald. Retrieved 29 January 2020.

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