USGS is reporting that the frequency and intensity of earthquakes impacting Puerto Rico is increasing, with a deadly 6.4 earthquake strike the southwestern side of the island this morning. The 6.4 earthquake was followed by a 5.6, 5.0, another 5.6, a 4.8, and a 4.1 today, with many other earthquakes ranging from 3.0 to 4.5. Today’s largest quake, according to USGS, struck at 4:24 am local time, just south of the island at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers. While it initially rated the quake as a 6.6, it adjusted it downwards to 6.4.
A tsunami alert was initially issued for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but later canceled.
The Electric Power Authority reported an island-wide power outage.
Puerto Rico’s Governor Wanda Vasquez told local media and posted to social media that government offices will remain closed due to island-wide power outages today. She urged citizens to remain calm and asked public employees to stay home until the government finishes an assessment of the damage and until circumstances are safer. While communication is hampered with the power outages, officials say damage in Ponce is extensive with numerous collapsed homes, cracked roadways, and other damage to infrastructure.
A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck early yesterday morning creating damage then too. The quake was responsible for the collapse of at least five homes in the southwest coastal town of Guánica and heavily damaged dozens of others. It also caused small landslides and power outages. Monday’s quake also collapsed the famed geological formation Punta Ventana, a popular tourist attraction in the town of Guayanilla.
[GUAYANILLA] Desaparece la ventana natural en Punta Ventana, Guayanilla. pic.twitter.com/IN0LI7XuKK
— UPRM Meteorological Laboratory (@UPRMetLab) January 6, 2020
This earthquake swarm began on December 28, with dozens of earthquakes hitting the area greater than 4.0 intensity. The island is still recovering from the devastating impacts Hurricane Maria made in 2017.