Caribbean: Earthquake Tremors

Just a few hours ago, several Caribbean islands experienced strong tremors from an earthquake that originated off the coast of Martinique – and soon after regional bloggers caught their breath and got over the initial shock, they were on their computers blogging about the experience…

Steve's Dominica was first on the ball – yesterday, his blog reported on “A Little Tremor”:

10:19am – a 4.8 ‘quake’ shook us. A little thing really, centered east of Martinique.

When the most recent tremors hit, however, his new post title quickly got upgraded to “HUGE Tremor”, followed by a report on the specifics of the ‘quake:

We were just rocked by a substantial earthquake – magnitude 7.3, centered not far west of Martinique. Now that's what I call scary – about 2 minutes of sustained shaking. Cars rocked, motorbike shook, water tank shook and slopped water… and Puss fled.

Further down the Caribbean archipelago, some Barbados blogs were also writing about the experience. Barbados Underground called the tremor “nerve wracking” and provides a time line of what happened from beginning to end. Cheese-on-bread! says that she “had to exit the building hastily”, but as soon as she was allowed back on her computer she provided a more detailed account:

Traffic is gridlocked, especially near the City, and there were reports of roof tiles falling from the Royal Bank of Canada in Broad Street, damaging a car and blocking the street. Part of a house in the parish of St. George reportedly fell into a gully. People are in the streets and walking to open areas. The cellphone system is partially down so persons are having difficulty communicating. Some patients were also evacuated from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. In Guadeloupe there are reports that a 3 year old girl was killed and her sister injured.

Caribbean Lionesse describes it as “possibly the strongest earthquake in Barbados’ living memory”, adding that “the whole island is still in a bit of a tizzy and on edge”:

I was sitting at my desk when I realised I felt dizzy or lightheaded – like my head was swimming. A few seconds later I heard my workmates shrieking and realised it was not just me. To be honest, I was in a panic. I just froze and clutched my desk, hoping it would pass but the ground just kept swaying and swaying and swaying. In my mind I was thinking “oh my god, we're still moving, why are we still moving?”

But after about forty-five minutes, she is able to post a “funny” earthquake update:

Guardian General swooped in RIGHT AWAY and is sponsoring Starcom radio's emergency broadcast on the earthquake. So every 15 minutes or so between nervy reports from town and around the region, you hear ‘Guardian General – trust us to be there!’ Talk about marketing!

Notes From The Margin gives an insightful account of how people reacted, more concerned for the safety of their loved ones than their own welfare:

We all bolted for the door this afternoon as we felt and saw the ground shake beneath our feet. Everyone is asking what’s going on and no one appears to know. Calls on cell phones are met with “Network Busy”, calls on landlines are met with busy tones. No one is hurt but everyone is calling their loved ones to see that they are okay. People are sounding strained on the phone not because they are scared for themselves but because they fear for those dear to them. “My husband is on a construction site”, “My parents are on a plane coming in, will the airport be okay?” “I can’t get through to my children’s school I wonder if they are okay?”

Amit at Pull! Push! says:

Google is all over it…

He actually got on IM with me (I was entering my own post about it at the time) and we traded stories:

Amit: hi
take it u heard/felt the quake?
me: oh yes!! how bad was it in your neck of the woods?
Amit: first time i felt a quake/shake.
like being on a boat in the water.
i was at home.
me: we had a pretty scary one last year, but this one was way longer.
Amit: i've got a full blog post up already. USGS says 7.3 around martinique.
me: incredible.
apparently the aftershocks are expected to be quite strong
Amit: good grief.
me: i know.
Amit: this is the first time in my entire life and for most bajans as well i bet, that i've been through this.

Living Guyana reports feeling the effects of the tremor:

For a few seconds at approximately 3:04pm this afternoon a strong tremor rocked houses and other buildings on coastland Guyana. The tremor sent persons scattering out of their homes, offices and other buildings in Georgetown as people became scared and ran onto the streets.

West Indies Cricket Blog also weighed in:

A massive earthquake (7.3 on Richter scale) rocked the Caribbean today, sending tremors as far as Guyana and Suriname in South America. The earthquake was centered 23 miles southeast of Roseau, the capital of Dominica, where the shaking lasted for about 20 seconds.

As the people of the Caribbean brace themselves for possible aftershocks, Marginal says:

It’s a time to hug your family and count your blessings, it could have been much much worse.


  • […] Global Voices has a good round up. […]

  • Mrs G Dennison

    And there is more to come. Not only is there intense seismic activity at the moment and for some time to come, but in the world of politics, big business, finance, etc there are signs of great upheaval and far-reaching changes. Shades of 1929/1930 (recession,rise of dicators) and the late 1990s (changes in the systems of government, perhaps even the world order). Exposures of wrongdoing in our leaders – reaching to the very top. Also ancient civilizations and things long-buried unearthed. Now is the time to inspect load-carrying bridges. An interesting period is in prospect in some respects unprecedented. To quote Bette Davis “Fasten your seat belts, we’re in for a bumpy ride.” Ask any trained astrologer. With due respect to the sceptics

    G Dennison

  • k

    we felt it real bad in st vincent, a glass building in kingstown had cracks all over and our 5 floor financial complex has a lot of cracks and pieces of concrete missing on the ground floor.

  • Wow. this thing has the whole Caribbean jumping. We felt it here in St. Maarten too. People were scared, running out of buildings.
    I haven’t blogged about it yet but I guess I will, like the other Caribbean bloggers.
    It shook all of us up.
    See reports from various islands on

  • 60'sgirl

    Do you know anything about Aruba? My 88 year old mother is on a cruise that docked there at 10 AM EST this morning? Thank you.

  • kanta

    This is the strongest earthquke that has hit the island in over 30yrs. it registered 7.3 9n the ritcher , and was as long as one min.
    there are reports of damage to buildings in Port of spain, the centrel bank tower, and some home around the island.
    I had just lie down on my bed after a eleven hour day at 3.00 pm, when i felt it slight at frist and then a very hard shake . one news caster was on air and shared the info as it happened.iwas unable to rest after.

  • redds

    i am still a bit nervy i was so worried about my kids we are all at home now and ok. i work at super centre warrens and when the building started to shake and i realised what was happening my first taught was what happened at arch cot.

  • century


  • garnet

    everybody was at work at the docks. the earthshake started and it took me by surprise. it was violent and the shaking caused the roof to make loud banging noises & bits of concrete fell to the ground. i fled through the shed gate all the while shielding my head from falling items. after i left the shed i stood out in the open along with dozens of other workers where i thought i was safe but the port crane overhead was swaying and i had to flee once more.

  • jamal

    well i am from Barbados and when it happen i was in total shock i was like nothing i experience before. Every came outside after and gossip…

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