Earthquake rattles region

Some residents of the Cayman Island felt the ground shake Sunday afternoon as a result of a strong earthquake that occurred 75 miles north-northwest of Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The 6.2 magnitude earthquake, which occurred just before 4pm, did not cause any reported damage or injuries.

Hazard Management Director Barbara Carby noted the cause of the event.

‘This earthquake is definitely associated with the northern boundary of the Caribbean Tectonic Plate,’ she said.

The earthquake occurred much closer to the Sister Islands than Grand Cayman. HRH Prince Edward was at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute along with a large portion of the Little Cayman’s population at the time, but none of the attendees spoken to felt the tremor.

The earthquake was felt by some residents on Grand Cayman. It was not, however, detected on any seismology equipment, said Michael Whiteman, senior geomatician at Lands & Survey.

‘We haven’t fine-tuned (the equipment) for sensitivity yet,’ he said.

Mr. Whiteman said that sites are currently being tested for the equipment, and that calm sites away from air conditioning units and other machinery are needed.

The equipment will be fully functional ‘hopefully by June.’

Mr. Whiteman said that once it is functional, the equipment – which will be able to detect earthquakes all over the world – will not be specifically monitored by anyone, but thresholds will be set to trigger alarms or other warnings should an earthquake of a certain magnitude be detected.

The Cayman Islands feels the effects of minor earthquake tremors fairly frequently. Occasionally, however, strong earthquakes do occur here. In December 2004, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake occurred just 20 miles south of George Town, rattling homes and frightening residents, but doing little damage.