A magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Tuesday about 80 miles from Jamaica, shaking people in the Caribbean and as far away as Miami.A tsunami of 0.4 feet was recorded in the Cayman Islands at George Town, but no tsunami was observed at Port Royal, Jamaica, or Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.There were several aftershocks, including one the US Geological Survey said had a magnitude of 6.1.”Based on all available data, there is no significant tsunami threat from this (6.1) earthquake. However, there is a very small possibility of tsunami waves along coasts located nearest the epicenter,” the National Weather Service’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.The quakes come three weeks after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck Puerto Rico.A tsunami threat alert was lifted Tuesday afternoon, a few hours after the quake.Earlier, a tsunami of 0.4 feet was recorded in the Cayman Islands at George Town, but no tsunami was observed at Port Royal, Jamaica or Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.Alec Pultr, who lives in Ogier, Grand Cayman, said it wasn’t the first earthquake he’s experienced but it was the biggest “by far.””We were simply working and things started to sway,” he told CNN.As the swaying and shaking became more violent, most people started to run; the ones who stayed behind got under their desks.
People in Miami, 440 miles from the epicenter, felt shaking.Miguel Charon was on the 13th floor of a building on Brickell Avenue. He told CNN he felt the walls shake for 30 to 40 seconds. His initial thought was that it must have been caused by a machine of some sort. He said building officials issued an evacuation order and people left the building in a smooth and calm manner.Jose Borrego, who also works in the Brickell area, said he was in a meeting.”We felt slight movement of the building, then we got told to evacuate the building,” he said. “Once we came outside (we) noticed that there are evacuations every building in the area.”
The earthquake appears to have been a “strike-slip earthquake,” in which tectonic plates slide against each other. This limits the threat of a devastating tsunami, which are more associated with “thrust earthquakes,” where a portion of the earth is thrust upward and causes the water to push up and outward, creating the tsunami.The quake hit 125 kilometers (77.6 miles) north-northwest of Lucea in Jamaica.The earthquake also was felt as far away as Havana. Some people in the Cuban capital were evacuating taller buildings. Cuba’s state media reported the earthquake was felt across the island in Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguín, Las Tunas, Cienfuegos, Pinar del Río, Havana and the Isle of Youth.There are no initial reports of damage or casualties.