Another strong 5.0 earthquake struck Puerto Rico today, triggering a landslide and providing more angst to a population dealing with the emotional toll of a month’s worth of steady quakes. The USGS said that the quake occurred at a depth of 8 miles around the southern coastal town of Guanyanilla, close to the epicenter of other recent quakes.
Numerous earthquakes have impacted Puerto Rico over the last 4 weeks, with thousands living in shelters fearing their homes will collapse. There have been 2,403 earthquakes with a magnitude of 1.5 or greater in the area in the last 30 days, 259 in the last 7 days, and 14 in the last 24 hours. In the time since the 5.0 quake struck 6 hours ago, there have been 4 additional quakes in the area with magnitudes 3.3, 3.2, 2.8, and 3.1. The largest, a 6.4, struck on January 7, killing one person and damaging hundreds of home. On January 11, a strong 5.9 quake hit the same area, adding to the damage there.
In addition to dealing with the aftermath of 2017’s Hurricane Maria, earthquake survivors have had to deal with flooding rains in recent days. Hundreds of people were evacuated from earthquake shelters after they became flooded in heavy rains.
President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for the earthquake swarm. Puerto Rico officials say that prior to today’s quake, the damage toll was around $200 million. Officials said that more than 4,000 people have been in earthquake shelters although they expect that number to rise as a result of today’s quake.