Puerto Rico’s earthquake emergency

Dangerous earthquakes shake Puerto Rico as 2020 begins


Devastating earthquakes hit Puerto Rico. Source: Getty Images

On Monday 6th January 2020, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico’s coastal municipality Guayanilla at 06:35 am. The earthquake destroyed more than a dozen homes as well as the landmark Punta Ventana or Window Point, a window shaped stone arch which collapsed destroying an important symbol for Guayanilla. Four hours after the earthquake, there was a 5.1 magnitude aftershock followed by more, along with fifteen smaller earthquakes in the water off the south-eastern coast.


A 6.4 magnitude earthquake followed on Tuesday at 04:24 am, and due to this many powerful aftershocks occured, including one which hit hours later at a 6.0 magnitude. This earthquake injured several people and was responsible for the death of a seventy-seven year old man. It also affected power plants across the area, meaning that many power and telecommunications were cut out. The power plants are all located along the southern coast where the seismic activity originated from. Many homes and buildings were destroyed as a result of the earthquake, so various public offices and schools were closed for the day.


These two earthquakes have been part of a series of hundreds of earthquakes that have hit Puerto Rico since the 28thof December. The earthquake that occurred on Tuesday was one of the strongest quakes since the series began, all targeting the southern part of the island. Puerto Rico is prone to earthquakes as it is situated in between two tectonic plates, the North American plate and the Caribbean tectonic plate, placing it in an extremely vulnerable position.



Elassar, Alaa. “Punta Ventana, One of Puerto Rico’s Natural Wonders, Has Been Destroyed by an Earthquake.” CNN. Cable News Network, January 7, 2020. https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/punta-ventana-puerto-rico-earthquake-collapse-trnd/index.html.


Hernández, Arelis. “Puerto Rico Earthquake Tuesday Morning Triggers Blackout, Reports of Injuries and at Least One Dead.” The Washington Post. WP Company, January 7, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/puerto-rico-earthquake/2020/01/07/0cbe4c92-3143-11ea-9313-6cba89b1b9fb_story.html.


“Puerto Rico Hit by 6.4-Magnitude Earthquake.” BBC News. BBC, January 7, 2020. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-51023554.


Wyss, Jim. “Puerto Rican Natural Wonder, Punta Ventana, Collapses amid 5.8 Magnitude Earthquake.” miamiherald. Miami Herald, January 6, 2020. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/article238996843.html.