Sometime around 2:00 PM EST there was a magnitude 7.4 earthquake somewhere near the island of Barbados (land of my birth). That particular part of the West Indies is not know for seismic activity so when I saw this a few minutes ago I thought Instapundit meant politics. I followed the link to Caribbean Lionesse and found out that they meant a real earthquake. Then I called dad who confirmed that there really was an earthquake. He said that everyone we know is fine. He's still waiting to hear from one more family member.
Dad also noted that at least one news report he heard got the geography of the region wrong. Here's a link to the USGS data if you want the facts. The epicenter appears to be near or on Martinique.
Others blogging the incident are:
Mike in Dominica
More later. I've got to get the kids to bed now.
9:22 PM EST
Magnitude-7.4 earthquake rocks Caribbean
In Martinique, police and firefighters responded to hundreds of calls for help but only minor injuries were reported, said an official who declined to give his name in accordance with government policy. One British citizen died from heart failure during the quake, according to the island's civil security office.
More than 31,000 people on the island of 400,000 were without power Thursday evening, officials said. Many lingered outdoors for hours, fearing aftershocks.
The quake slightly damaged some homes and water pipes in St. Lucia, St. Vincent and other nearby islands. The quake struck at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) and was felt as far away as Puerto Rico to the west, and Venezuela and Suriname to the south.
"A resident checks the damages on his apartment building in the St. George parish, central Barbados, after a powerful earthquake rocked the eastern Caribbean on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007. The earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.4, was centered 26 miles, 42 kilometers, southeast of Roseau, the capital of Dominica, where the shaking lasted for about 20 seconds. The quake was felt hundreds of miles away in Puerto Rico to the west, and Venezuela and Suriname to the south." (AP Photo/Chris Brandis)
Caribbean Hit by Earthquake Felt as Far as Venezuela (Update1)
[Geological Survey seismologist Rafael] Abreu said the depth of the earthquake eliminated tsunami concerns. The temblor may have caused some damage in Martinique and the nearby Caribbean islands of Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago because of the magnitude.
Damage was limited because the quake was so deep, Richard Robertson, head of the seismic research unit at the University of the West Indies, said in a telephone interview.
``You're further from the source of the rupture,'' Robertson said. ``The energy dissipates as the waves go out.''
The previous most powerful quake in the eastern Caribbean occurred in 1974 when a 7.5-magnitude temblor hit Antigua and Barbuda, Robertson said.
I'm rather relieved that the quake was too deep to do too much damage. I've been in the structures in the region. I don't think anyone has ever considered building to withstand earthquakes. Hurricanes yes, but not earthquakes. Mom and Dad seem to be at adds as to whether or not they felt the 1974 quake.
10:06 PM EST
Powerful quake jolts Caribbean countries
Several Caribbean countries were jolted Thursday when a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake centred 25 miles south of Dominica hit the countries, sending thousands of people scampering from shaking buildings.The Parliament Buildings are over three hundred years old.
According to the University of the West Indies Seismic Centre, the earthquake, centred at 14.9 north, 61.2 west, affected Martinique, Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Guadeloupe and Anguilla. There were also reports of tremors as far south as Guyana and as far north as Puerto Rico.
The Trinidad-based Centre, which described the event which occured around 3 p.m. as one of the largest events to be recorded in the Eastern Caribbean in historic times, said there was no threat of a tsunami from this event.
The earthquake, which followed closely on the heels of a 5.2 magnitude earthquake which was felt in Dominica, St Lucia and St Vincent on Wednesday, led to damage in St Lucia, with officials in other countries reporting that the activity, which was felt for nearly one minute, led to minimal damage being initially reported.
In Barbados, a section of a house in the central parish of St George collapsed while blocks fell from Parliament Buildings in Bridgetown and a building along the country’s main shopping street Broad Street.
With gridlock on the roads as a result of workers abandoning their work places to go home, police reported that at least one road in the north of the island developed a major crack as a result of the earthquake and eight people, including a woman who fell while shoppers were fleeing City stores, were treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for injuries or panic related complaints.
I'm off to bed now.