Moderate shallow earthquake strikes in Jamaica

Last update: May 16, 2011 at 10:22 pm by By

A moderate earthquake has been experienced across Jamaica, with a 4.7 magnitude quake striking SW Jamaica at 10:07 local time.

UPDATE 19:10 UTC : We have summarized a lot of Felt Reports at the bottom of this page (below the earthquake statistics) which we received soon after the earthquake struck. Thank you for sending them to Earthquake-Report.com

UPDATE 17:22 UTC : The University of the West Indies (Jamaica) reports that the earthquake measured 5.0 on the Richter Scale.

UPDATE 16:55 UTC : A local newspaper (The Gleaner) has received reports that several buildings in Kingston have cracks in the walls. We (as well as the Gleaner) are surprised that this would be the case in Kingston taking into account that the epicenter was more than 100 km away.

UPDATE 16:24 UTC : Jamaica has 2 transform faults (on on each side of the island -  green lines).  As these type of transform faults can be very dangerous (Lorca was also a transform earthquake), ALL people in Jamaica should be well prepared if a strong earthquake would strike. Click here for our easy to remember preparedness precautionary rules.

UPDATE 16:17 UTC : The origin of the earthquake is the more dangerous “strike-slip” type of earthquakes (mainly horizontal displacement). 7 seismograph stations picked up the signal.

UPDATE 16:12 UTC : USGS has also reported this earthquake as a magnitude 4.7 @ a depth of 37 km. These parameters are confirming our earlier estimate that this will certainly not be a damaging earthquake (cracks in walls cannot be excluded).

UPDATE 16:04 UTC : Some more reports of our readers :
Kingston : building shook hard, felt like an aftershock but pretty heavy
Kingston : I was on the third floor of a building. At about 10:15 a.m. the building shook heavily for about a second. No damage seen, no equipment or furniture shifted or displaced.(MMI II-III)
Kingston : Strong quake. I am in Kingston in a two storey building.I felt  a mild tremor at first then a much stronger one. (MMI V)
Brown’s Town, St. Ann, Jamaica – MMI IV
Montego Bay : A reader living in Montego Bay has reported a shock of about 3 seconds (MMI IV checked).
Downtown, Kingston : I was on the seventh floor of a building when i felt a slight rumbling and nausea then felt the building shaking and objects shifting (MMI IV checked)

UPDATE 15:59 UTC : Reports coming into our newsroom are that several buildings in New Kingston and downtown Kingston have been evacuated. (source : Jamaica Gleaner)

UPDATE 15:58  UTC : Still no report of this earthquake on the USGS system.

UPDATE 15:54  UTC : On the seismogram below, registered at Mount Denham, you can see that is was more a very strong shock than a lasting earthquake. Based on this seismogram and the felt reports we predict only max. minor or NO damage

UPDATE 15:52  UTC : Residents in western Jamaica, Manchester and St Ann reported the shock as “powerful“. “It was very powerful, I felt my chair move,” a St Elizabeth resident said

UPDATE 15:51  UTC : Finally we could obtain the earthquake parameters : It is a moderate, but shallow earthquake with an epicenter close to Black River. More details to follow.

Viesw of the epicenter coastal area - Panoramio picture courtesy Jacques Stakenborg - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/7223251

UPDATE 15:47  UTC : A just In report from one of our readers : It was sudden of course. The house and everything in it shook for about 4-5 seconds; then there was a slight pause, but afterwards the place began to shake again, for just about 3 seconds. The second shaking did not stop abruptly, it faded out. This is the second time we felt a tremor in New Green Manchester since this year. This one was stronger and lasted longer than the first. I’m beginning to worry about what is happening underground in these parts. I know am no seismologist, but myself and others need to be more educated and informed about what is taking place underneath the crust.

UPDATE 15:40 UTC : A summary of some felt experiences we could trace (also in social networks) :
tweet : An earthquake just hit New Kingston, JA. I pray that no one is hurt!!!!
tweet : Felt two tremors about 10 seconds apart About 10:05 am Mandeville, Jamaica
Minor earthquake it looks like, about as big as the one 2 weeks ago. Could be however the sign for something larger building up, or maybe just normal seismicity. Difficult to tell. ER comment : keep it to normal seismicity

UPDATE 15:39 UTC : A shallow earthquake with a magnitude less than 4 but below or near to a populated area will be well felt by the people.

UPDATE 15:38 UTC : As we have not yet received seismic data from one og the bureaus, we expect that the earthquake will have a magnitude of less than 4.

UPDATE 15:36 UTC : We just received a felt report from Fallmouth Jamaicawith the following text : Office Shaked light app 10:12 am local time (checked MMI IV = light shaking)

We know from local reports that an earthquake was felt in many parts of Jamaica.
The ground shook for several seconds.
The earthquake was felt in at least Kingston & St Andrew, Clarendon, St Mary, St Catherine and St Ann
So far we have no seismological details yet of  this earthquake.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 4.7
UTC Time : 2011-05-16 15:07:07.5 UTC
Local time at epicenter :  approx. 10:07
Depth (Hypocenter) : 37 km
Geo-location(s) :
Close to Black River
12 km SW Malvern (pop 3,291)
31 km SE Savanna la mar (pop 18,616)
62 km (38 miles) S of Montego Bay, Jamaica
117 km (72 miles) W of KINGSTON, Jamaica

More Felt reports that were reported to Earthquake-Report.com
Montego Bay : I was in a three storey building on the second floor when I felt shaking and saw people looking terrified and scared while some were went under their desks.After running out from the building everyone was traumatized. (MMI V)
Montego Bay :
I was at work at our radio station MELLO FM and everyone were surprised. When i looked outside everyone at a school close by was outside.

Montego Bay : I live in Montego Bay at approximately 10:10 am I heard rumbling and saw some bottles shifting in my office.
Montego Bay : Heavy tremor for about 10 seconds in the Fairway shopping centre area of Montego Bay (MMI V)
Kingston : In a multi storey building, I felt one fairly big jolt/sway. Others felt multiple shakes just prior to this. (MMI IV)
Manchester : I felt the first one, i was shocked i paused looked at everyone no one actually realized it happened, but the second one got everyone standing, you could see persons running out of buildings but i just sat in shock (MMI V).
Mandeville, Manchester : On the upper floor, I felt three separate tremors. First was while I was seated on the balcony and table table moved and building rumbled.  Ran inside house, then felt the second and building rumbled.  Then decided to go outside, and felt and heard the third. ER : Wrong attitude : You should have stayed outside at a safe distance from you house.
Kingston : I was in the kitchen preparing breakfast when I saw the aquarium on a stand starting to shake. I have never seen it shake before like that unless it was rocked. So I walked over and jumped thinking it was my footsteps that caused it to shake. It kept on shaking with my jump having no effect. By time I sat by my computer I saw jamaicans on Twitter tweeting about an earthquake. They confirmed it. I did not think it was an earthquake at all. (MMI V)
Manchester, New Green : It was sudden of course. The house and everything in it shook for about 4-5 seconds; then there was a slight pause, but afterwards the place began to shake again, for just about 3 seconds. The second shaking did not stop abruptly, it faded out. This is the second time we felt a tremor in New Green Manchester since this year. This one was stronger and lasted longer than the first. I’m beginning to worry about what is happening underground in these parts. I know am no seismologist, but myself and others need to be more educated and informed about what is taking place underneath the crust (MMI V) – ER : We try to do it :)
Kingston : Around 10.00am local time a light shaking/swaying for about three seconds (MMI IV)
St. Andrew : Felt two strong jolts (MMI IV)
Trelawny, Falmouth : Definite shaking less than ten seconds duration.  I would guess 5.  I was in Alaska in 1964 and San Francisco 1989 (MMI IV)
Falmouth : Earthquake felt in Falmouth Jamaica 10:12 app (minor)
Mandeville  : (MMI IV)
Montego Bay : I could hear it before I felt it.(MMI IV)
Hanover : The walls showed minor swaying much like heavy vibration (MMI II-III)
Santa Cruz : I was sitting on a chair beside a computer desk when i felt the vigorous shaking and rumbling sound then the desk started shaking. I got so afraid, i didn’t even remember to pray i was just look down on the floor to see if it was going to open up and take me in, my knees started to tremble and my head started to ache. (MMI VI)
Montego Bay : I was in a two story building in Montego Bay. There was quite a loud rumbling and the building started to shake (MMI V)
Kingston : Was on the fifth floor at work. the entire building was evacuated (MMI V)
Mandeville,Manchester : I am on the second floor of a three story building in mandeville manchester. I felt a strong shake then it stopped, then a much stronger one..
Hopewell, Hanover : It felt like someone very heavy walking on the roof and then the building shook for a few seconds. (MMI II-III)
- It was moderately weak trembling that lasted for a minute or two. it felt like the earth was going to split open beneath my feet (MMI IV)
-  I was on the computer at work and it started shaking i was afraid (MMI II-III)

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map of the area showing the kind of terrain the earthquake took place (green arrow)
USGS historic earthquakes map
USGS Seismic hazard map

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I did feel it – Ik heb het gevoeld – Το έκανα αισθάνεται – Yo lo siento – 我的确感到了 – 私はそれを感じていました- Ich habe es gefühlt – Bunu hissediyorum yaptı – لم أشعر أنه

Montego Bay : I was at work at our radio station MELLO FM and everyone were surprised. When i looked outside everyone at a school close by was outside.
Montego Bay : I live in Montego Bay at approximately 10:10 am I heard rumbling and saw some bottles shifting in my office.
Montego Bay : Heavy tremor for about 10 seconds in the Fairway shopping centre area of Montego Bay (MMI V)
Kingston : In a multi storey building, I felt one fairly big jolt/sway. Others felt multiple shakes just prior to this. (MMI IV)
Manchester : I felt the first one, i was shocked i paused looked at everyone no one actually realized it happened, but the second one got everyone standing, you could see persons running out of buildings but i just sat in shock (MMI V).
Mandeville, Manchester : On the upper floor, I felt three separate tremors. First was while I was seated on the balcony and table table moved and building rumbled.  Ran inside house, then felt the second and building rumbled.  Then decided to go outside, and felt and heard the third. ER : Wrong attitude : You should have stayed outside at a safe distance from you house.
Kingston : I was in the kitchen preparing breakfast when I saw the aquarium on a stand starting to shake. I have never seen it shake before like that unless it was rocked. So I walked over and jumped thinking it was my footsteps that caused it to shake. It kept on shaking with my jump having no effect. By time I sat by my computer I saw jamaicans on Twitter tweeting about an earthquake. They confirmed it. I did not think it was an earthquake at all. (MMI V)
Manchester, New Green : It was sudden of course. The house and everything in it shook for about 4-5 seconds; then there was a slight pause, but afterwards the place began to shake again, for just about 3 seconds. The second shaking did not stop abruptly, it faded out. This is the second time we felt a tremor in New Green Manchester since this year. This one was stronger and lasted longer than the first. I’m beginning to worry about what is happening underground in these parts. I know am no seismologist, but myself and others need to be more educated and informed about what is taking place underneath the crust (MMI V) – ER : We try to do it :)
Kingston : Around 10.00am local time a light shaking/swaying for about three seconds (MMI IV)
St. Andrew : Felt two strong jolts (MMI IV)
Trelawny, Falmouth : Definite shaking less than ten seconds duration.  I would guess 5.  I was in Alaska in 1964 and San Francisco 1989 (MMI IV)
Falmouth : Earthquake felt in Falmouth Jamaica 10:12 app (minor)
Mandeville  : (MMI IV)
Montego Bay : I could hear it before I felt it.(MMI IV)
It was moderately weak trembling that lasted for a minute or two. it felt like the earth was going to split open beneath my feet (MMI IV)
I was on the computer at work and it stardted shaking i was afraid (MMI II-III)

Comments

  1. Jamaipanese says:

    felt much stronger than 4.8, I guess it was because I was on the 10th floor of an office building.

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