Caribbean earthquake of 7.7 triggers tsunami warnings

A map showing where an earthquake struck in the Caribbean

Image caption

The quake hit between Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba

A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake has struck in the Caribbean, prompting tsunami warnings for parts of the region, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said on Tuesday.

The quake hit between Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the USGS said.

Buildings shook and tremors were felt as far away as Miami, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Warnings were quickly issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC).

The PTWC said “hazardous tsunami waves are possible” for coasts located within 300km (186 miles) of the earthquake’s epicentre.

This includes parts of Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, it said.

But seismologist Dr Lucy Jones tweeted: “The M7.7 Jamaican quake produced sideways motion on the fault, so the tsunami risk is low.”

The epicentre of the quake, initially reported as magnitude-7.3 before being upgraded, was 125 km north-west of Lucea, Jamaica.

Shaking has been reported in the Cuban capital, Havana, and in Kingston, Jamaica.

Meanwhile, advice to “move away from coastal areas” has been issued by the Cayman Islands government on Twitter.

Mikhail Campbell, a police media relations officer in the Cayman Islands, told Reuters news agency he was not immediately aware of any reports of serious damage.

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