6.4-magnitude quake strikes Puerto Rico

MIAMI, Jan 7 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/7/2020 12:51:43 PM IST

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Puerto Rico on Tuesday, the strongest tremor yet in a week of heavy seismic activity in the area. It knocked out power to much of the island.

The quake, which struck five miles southwest of Tallaboa on Puerto Rico’s southwestern coast, was recorded at 4:24 a.m. local time, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The full scope of the damage was not immediately known. A 73-year-old man died in the city of Ponce after a wall fell on him, reported El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper, citing local police.

Widespread power outages were reported, including in San Juan, the capital. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority said all of its power plants had gone offline after its “auto protection” systems had been activated. The utility reported damage to one of its main plants near the earthquake’s epicenter but said it hoped to restore electricity elsewhere later on Tuesday.

The United States National Tsunami Warning Center said there was no related tsunami threat. The local authorities initially issued a tsunami watch before canceling it, according to Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency.

The quake’s magnitude was initially reported as 6.6 and later downgraded. Three strong aftershocks with preliminary estimates of  5.6, 5.2 and 4.5 magnitude followed the big quake. A bigger aftershock, of 5.8 magnitude, hit at 7:18 a.m. local time.

On Monday, a 5.8-magnitude quake and aftershocks terrified residents, leveled homes and destroyed a well-known natural rock formation. Smaller tremors have been occurring since the night of Dec. 28-29, all clustered in the same offshore area.


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