UWI-SRC denies tsunami warning issued after earthquake off Dominica
Castries, St. Lucia, Janaury 8, 2020 (St. Lucia News Online): The Trinidad-based UWI Seismic Research Center (SRC) has denied that a tsunami warning was issued following an earthquake that took place south of Dominica on Wednesday morning.
After the 5.2 quake, which was felt on several islands including Saint Lucia, social media was rife with rumors that a tsunami warning was issued.
One media outlet published that “sections of the Caribbean are being put on alert for possible tsunamis.”
But late Wednesday UWI- SRC said this was never the case.
“Please note that no tsunami warning was issued for the magnitude 5.2 earthquake that occurred south of Dominica this morning,” the center said.
It explained that there are four conditions necessary for an earthquake to cause a tsunami.
(1) The earthquake must occur beneath the ocean or cause material to slide into the ocean.
(2) The earthquake must be very strong, at least magnitude 6.5.
(3) The earthquake must rupture the surface (seabed) and it must occur at shallow depth – less than 70km below the surface of the Earth.
(4) The earthquake must cause vertical movement (up/down) of the sea floor (up to several metres).
“None of these occurred during this event,” the SRC stated. “It should be highlighted that there is a protocol in place should a tsunami be generated and the Center will alert the public as needs be.”
UWI-SCR said it remains “the authority on the geological hazards that can impact our region and we urge the public to verify information before sharing.”