Magnitudes 5.2 and 4.6 Earthquakes Strike Near Dominica in One Week

  • Ernice Gilbert
  • January 15, 2020

Graphic of Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake near Dominica on Jan. 8 By. EARTHQUAKE TRACKER

Two relatively significant earthquakes have occurred near Dominica in just one week, according to the University of the West Indies' Seismic Research Center (S.R.C.). The earthquakes come at a time when Dominica continues to rebuild from Hurricane Maria, which ravaged the island commonwealth in 2017, and Tropical Storm Erika before it in 2015. There have been no reports of injury or damage from the quakes.

Meanwhile, neighboring Puerto Rico is still being hit by earthquakes following the magnitude 6.4 that impacted the island last week Tuesday. And since 2:00 a.m. Tuesday, 15 earthquakes with recorded magnitudes of 2.1 to 4.6 struck just off the southern P.R. coast, according to the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, a project of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. 

According to the UWI Seismic Research Center, the magnitude 5.2 earthquake struck 23 km south-east of Roseau, Dominica on Jan. 8 at 10:01 a.m. S.R.C. did not issue a tsunami warning following the activity, and revealed the four conditions that are necessary for an tsunami to occur: 

  1. The earthquake must occur beneath the ocean or cause material to slide into the ocean.
  2. The earthquake must be very strong, at least magnitude 6.5.
  3. The earthquake must rupture the surface (seabed) and it must occur at shallow depth – less than 70km below the surface of the Earth.
  4. The earthquake must cause vertical movement (up/down) of the sea floor (up to several meters).


On Tuesday at about 8:17 p.m. a magnitude 4.6 earthquake struck 39 km south-east of Roseau, Dominica. Both events were felt by Dominicans. The earthquakes, to a lesser extent, also impacted neighboring islands Martinique and St. Lucia.

Below are some earthquake preparedness tips: 

  • Secure heavy items in your home like bookcases, refrigerators, televisions, and objects that hang on walls. Store heavy and breakable objects on low shelves.
  • Create a family emergency communication plan and ensure everyone in your household knows where to meet if you get separated. Share emergency plans with your neighbors and combine plans whenever possible.
  • Practice “drop, cover, and hold-on” earthquake response procedures with all family members.
  • Drop: Drop wherever you are on to your hands and knees. If you’re using a wheelchair or walker with a seat, make sure your wheels are locked and remain seated until the shaking stops.
  • Cover: Cover your head and neck with your arms. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. 
  • Hold on: If you are under a table or desk, hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it if it moves. 
  • Prepare a supply kit that includes enough food and water for at least 10 days. Consider each person’s specific needs, including medication. Store critical documents in a watertight container. Have extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment. Do not forget the needs of pets.
  • Consider obtaining an earthquake insurance policy. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover earthquake damage.




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