Major 7.7 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Near Jamaica and Cuba

Police, fire department respond to calls in Miami
January 28, 2020 Updated: January 28, 2020

A strong 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck between the island nations of Jamaica and Cuba on Tuesday, and it was felt as far away as Miami.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the tremor hit about 75 miles north-northwest of Lucea, Jamaica. The agency said it had a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).

People as far away as Florida reported that they could feel the earthquake.

“Felt it in Boca Raton, FL. Small sway in on a 4th floor building for 2-3 seconds,” one person wrote on Twitter. Another person said they could feel the tremor in Bonita Springs, Florida.

“Humongous earthquake. Between Cuba, Jamaica and the Caymans. It was so big that Miami felt it. Buildings downtown were evacuated,” another person wrote on social media.

The Miami Police Department said it is “currently assisting” the Miami Fire Department “with reports of vibrations in the #Brickell and #Downtown areas. There are NO road closures at this time.”

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue told NBC6 it responded to reports of tremors felt at high-rise structures.

“I can’t remember in my lifetime there ever being a report of an earthquake being felt in the City of Miami,” Mayor Francis Suarez said.

The National Weather Service said there is “no tsunami threat for the Gulf of Mexico or eastern United States from the 7.7 earthquake in the Caribbean near Cuba and Jamaica.”

It is unlikely the Cayman Islands will be impacted by a damaging tsunami. There is now very low risk. Information from the Tsunami Warning Center indicates the first wave would have already passed the Cayman Islands. The main threat now relates to the possibility of aftershocks,” the Hazard Management Cayman Islands government agency also said in a statement minutes after it issued a tsunami alert.

The quake was felt in Santiago in far-eastern Cuba, a local told The Associated Press. “We were all sitting and we felt the chairs move,” she said. “We heard the noise of everything moving around. “It felt very strong but it doesn’t look like anything happened,” she told AP. In the Cayman Islands, AP reported that roads cracked and sewage spilled from pipes.

Photos uploaded on social media showed some damage in Jamaica.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.

In 2010, a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti, killing hundreds of thousands of people while causing significant damage to Port-au-Prince, the capital city. And earlier this month, a significant earthquake hit Puerto Rico, causing injuries and serious property damage.