Powerful Earthquake in Caribbean Prompts Tsunami Warnings

by Jessica Montevago

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean Sea just off the coast of Honduras Tuesday night, triggering tsunami warnings for Puerto Rico and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands.

The warnings for the disaster-hit countries were short lived. The U.S. Tsunami Center canceled the alert for the two Caribbean islands, as well as Jamaica, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, the coast of Mexico, Honduras, and Belize, saying the tsunami threat of waves up to three feet had passed.

Officials in Honduras said tremors were felt in the majority of the country, from the capital of Tegucigalpa in the east to as far north as the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It was also lightly felt in Belize’s capital, Belize City. There were no early reports of fatalities or serious damage.

The US Geological Survey said the quake was was centered 125 miles (202 km) northeast of Barra Patuca in Honduras and 191 miles (307 km) southwest of George Town in the Cayman Islands. The tremor occurred about 6 miles (10 kilometers) below the surface.

It’s one of the strongest quakes to hit the Caribbean in recorded history. The earthquake that devastated Haiti was magnitude 7.0.

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