Shortly after a magnitude 4.0 earthquake was recorded off the island on Friday, the Seismic Research Unit in Trinidad & Tobago has reiterated its warning that our region should prepare for a much more severe form of the natural phenomenon.
The Seismic Research Centre, the official source of information for earthquakes and volcanoes in the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean, confirmed that the activity occurred 50 miles east of the capital St John’s at about 5am.
Seismologist Dr Joan Latchman has restated her view that “the region has not seen its largest earthquake for more than a century.”
Based on the historical data, the region has recorded a major earthquake every 100 years and Dr Latchman believes since that time period has elapsed “we are expecting one. The region should expect such an earthquake.”
She said the pattern in which earthquakes have occurred in the region has been consistent and although authorities cannot predict when and where it will happen, “such an earthquake is well overdue.
According to the Seismic Research Centre, there have been a number of small earthquake activities taking place off Antigua & Barbuda although they have not been felt by residents.
“But the big vaults which are accumulating their energy has not released it,” Dr. Latchman said.
The head of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) Philmore Mullin agrees that Antigua & Barbuda is very vulnerable to earthquakes.
“The theory is if it happens before it will happen again. The question is when. It is not true that we should not be concerned about tsunami’s,” he said.The region was earlier this month put on notice to prepare for tsunamis by the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission of UNESCO.
“Lurking beneath the azure waters that wash up on countless coastal and island beaches and vacation spots is the potential for a devastating tsunami,” UNESCO IOC assistant director general Wendy Watson-Wright said.
The official said it is not a matter of if but when a tsunami will strike the region.