Jamaican authorities have been cautioned by an American seismic expert to make preparations for a major earthquake to impact the island.
Geophysics professor Eric Calais of Purdue University pleaded with the country’s government to take the threat seriously based on the area’s history and active seismic activity.
The professor stated that most scientists are in agreement that it is highly probable that Jamaica will experience an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 or 7.5 on the Richter scale.
Earthquakes of magnitude 7 on the Richter scale are considered “major” and are capable of catastrophic damage to infrastructure.
In 1907 Kingston was destroyed by magnitude 6.5 earthquake. Jamaica could incur a loss of about a half of the island’s gross domestic product if we were to experience a magnitude 7 quake according to researchers from the University of the West Indies.
“A 6.5 in the harbour by the capital could be a tremendous threat,” said Calais whilst visiting Port Royal, just outside of Kingston.
Calais’ warnings are being heeded by many as he was one of the scientists who warned Haiti that their country was ripe for a major earthquake in March of 2008.
Two years later the country was devastated by a deadly 7.0 quake killing some 316,000 people and leaving many more homeless.
Jamaica sits on the same seismically-active plate boundary as Haiti and is impacted by about 200 minor earthquakes per year.
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