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SHAKING PARADISE

Earthquakes Terrorize The Citizens of Puerto Rico 

January 14, 2020

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SHAKING PARADISE

On Monday, January 6, 2020, Puerto Rico started off the year with a 5.7 magnitude earthquake. The rude awakening rocked the citizens of the U.S. territory in the early morning. 

The powerful earthquake originated off the southern coast of the island in the Caribbean Sea. This part of the sea is very shallow, reaching only a depth of about four miles. The epicenter, or the point in the earth’s crust where a rupture begins, was a mere eight miles south of Indios, Puerto Rico. 

The long string of earthquakes the island has recently been facing started on December 28th of last year.“This is one of the strongest quakes to date since it started shaking on December 28,” Angel Vazquez, the emergency management director for the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico stated. 

Rockslides were reported along Route 2, while multiple homes and businesses around the island collapsed. Multiple survivors went to social media to post pictures of the damage done to their homes. There was no tsunami warning issued after the quake, but this was only the beginning of the shaking terror.  

The morning of January 7th, another earthquake struck the Caribbean island, leaving more and more destruction in its wake. The 6.4 magnitude earthquake shook the island to its core, leaving at least one dead. The shaking began at about 4:24 a.m. and was followed by severe aftershocks, some measuring out to a 6.0

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magnitude. This time, the tsunami sirens did go off and a warning was issued for the possibility of a giant tidal wave. This warning was later canceled. 

Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced made the executive call to make all government employees stay home as more aftershocks are expected to rock the island over the course of this week. More and more emergency personnel have be-gun to evaluate the damage done and inspect all power plants nearby. One power plant, The Costa Sur, has already been inspected and the damage found has cost 300,000 customers to go without water services. 

“There will be other earthquakes, prepare yourselves,” Wanda Vázquez Garced said. “This will continue to happen. For how long? We can’t say.”

“Everything is paralyzed,” said Marcos Irizarry Pagan, the mayor of a southern municipality impacted by the quake. “I hope this isn’t like Maria.” In the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017, a blackout left most of the population of Puerto Ricco without power. The recent earthquakes have left citizens fearing another blackout may occur. 

Unfortunately for the territory, the tremors are not expected to stop anytime soon. “More earthquakes (aftershock) will continue to occur near the mainshock,” the USGS (United States Geological Survey) stated. 

“When there are more earthquakes, the chance of a large earthquake is greater which means that the chance of damage is greater,” the group continued. 

As terror continues to shake its way into the hearts of citizens, many are left to wonder, what is causing all this destruction? Scientists have described the island of being “squeezed” between the Caribbean and North American Tectonic plates. This area contains three fault lines. The pressure from this has built over time and finally completly erupted with the Tuesday morning earthquake. Afterschocks of the 4-5 Richter scale range are expected and residents should remain calm and remain cautious during this time. 

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