Earthquake Spurs Tsunami of Tweets in Trinidad & Tobago

Shortly after ten o'clock last night, Trinidad and Tobago got a scare that wasn't crime or politics-related: an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale shook the country for what some netizens are reporting to be 20-30 seconds, though in the words of one Facebook user, “it felt like forever.”

The tremor apparently originated off the coast of Guiria, Venezuela, and Caribbean territories as close to the epicenter as Guyana or as far away as St. Vincent and the Grenadines also felt its effects.

Blogosphere was seemingly the only Trinidad-based blog that posted anything about the event:

If you slept through this one, you’ll sleep through anything.

The quake was so strong that it was felt as far as parts of South America and several Eastern Caribbean islands.

A seismologist from the SRC confirmed to me by e-mail that the event was the strongest quake to hit T&T since the 6.1 magnitude tremor of 1997.

The event was located at 10.86°N 62.12°W at a depth of 60km.

Local media immediately reported power cuts in parts of Trinidad; subsequent social media reports indicated power had been restored to some places.

In a statement, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management said there were no reports of serious damage.

CNC3 weather reporter @seigoniemohammed said there was no widespread tsunami threat exists at this time, according to NOAA, the US federal agency that monitors ocean activity.

All other netizens were on Twitter and Facebook:

@TriniBerry went on to describe the experience:

By then, @SeismicResearch had confirmed the strength of the tremor:

Netizens’ attempts to find other reliable online reports were foiled – at least by the United States Geological Survey site:

The site finally updated its information.

Interestingly, many people's first thought was to get onto social media platforms – not get out of the house:

Facebook user Sharla Hudson [comment quoted with permission] could see the logic, saying:

Funny how internet works during n after earthquakes… but phone lines say ‘network busy’

Facebook user Elspeth Duncan [comment also quoted with permission] found it amusing, saying:

What's funny is people writing in all caps apparently while the quake is happening … as if screaming via FBook. As if it's more important to update a status than ensure personal safety.

On Instagram, marielbrown74 posted what she called “earthquake evidence”.

Once the shaking stopped and people began to calm down, they couldn't resist injecting some humour into the situation. One Twitter user's thoughts immediately ran to Redman, the title character in a comedic video that went viral locally. The plot centers around a group of friends fleeing from natural disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes) – and once they get a safe distance away, realise that Redman is not with them. The rest of the story hinges around the seemingly unending search for Redman:

Several other netizens were making reference to this popular song by Maximus Dan, predicting that it would get a lot of airplay today:

On Facebook, the political quips began soon afterwards. Rhoda Bharath reposted a meme featuring a former ill-informed ambassador

Meme created by Ranan Jerry.

Meme created by Ranan Jerry.

…while David Makhan, tongue firmly in cheek, said:

Just confirmed: Earthquake caused by hindu cabal fleeing Rienzi complex heading to Venezuela with the treasury. The big thud felt in the middle of the episode was Suruj missing the boat when he jumped from the jetty.

Vernon O'Reilly Ramesar added:

I am predicting:
1. it will be determined to be a 6.5 or 6.6 quake tomorrow.
2. Roodal will blame Jack
3. Suruj will blame Jack.
4. Jack will offer to leap into the ocean and stop the shaking the next time – but he was feeding orphans when it happened this time.
5. Several churches will blame gays even though everyone knows gays only cause hurricanes.
6. Watson Duke of the PSA will blame it on OSH violations.

Patricia Worrell, whose status update is reproduced here with her permission, had a few predictions of her own:

Kamla will say that the quake was caused because pressure was building up for years under the PNM.
Keith will say the shaking occurred because corruption is causing the fabric of the society to unravel.
Prakash will say he ent worried – as long as the PP stays together, the land is strong.

And Jack will say he'll make sure we get as much aid as Haiti.


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