Puerto Rico Earthquake Rattles Buildings in Dominican Republic

Thursday, 29 May 2014 09:03 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A Puerto Rico earthquake of 5.8-magnitude struck in the waters off the island nation Wednesday. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, however buildings on both Puerto Rico and nearby Dominican Republic reportedly rattled as a result of the earthquake.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake occurred about 30 miles south of the popular Dominican tourist town of Punta Cana at a depth of 24 miles, The Associated Press reported.

As a precaution, authorities in the Dominican Republic capital of Santo Domingo evacuated several buildings.

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"It was pretty strong," Marina Brugal, a 32-year-old graphic designer who works on the sixth floor of one of the evacuated buildings, told the AP. "At first, it was only a vibration, but then everything began to shake and the windows began to move."

The Caribbean region experiences small earthquakes daily that people do not feel, although earthquakes of greater magnitude sometimes occur. The last substantial earthquake to hit Puerto Rico was a 6.4-magnitude quake that occurred in January, while a 6.5-magnitude tremor struck near Barbados in February and a 5.0- magnitude quake hit near St. Kitts in April, the AP noted.

According to The Weather Channel, Wednesday's earthquake was also felt about 7 minutes later in Caracas, Venezuela, some 560 miles from the epicenter.

According to Gisela Baez Sanchez, a geologist with Puerto Rico's Seismic Network, at least 70 aftershocks were reported since the initial quake with at least three having a magnitude of 3.5 or greater, the AP reported.

"All of Puerto Rico is in a seismic danger zone," Sanchez said in a phone interview with the AP. "We have to be prepared."

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