Strong shallow quake hits Puerto Rico, triggers small tsunami


(Reuters) – A shallow earthquake of magnitude 6.5 struck just off Puerto Rico early on Tuesday, triggering a small tsunami, though there were no initial reports of casualties or significant damage on land.

The quake was largest of several in the area in the past two weeks.

It struck at 4:24 am (0824 GMT) at a depth of 10.0 km (six miles) and its epicenter was five km south of Tallaboa, near Ponce on the island’s southern coast, the US Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a small tsunami measuring around 0.02 meters had been observed. “Persons along coastal areas near the earthquake should be observant and exercise normal caution, otherwise no action is required,” it said.

It had initially said there was “no significant tsunami threat”.

One witness located 14 km (nine miles) from the epicenter described the quake as “super strong”, in a posting on the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre website. Another witness around 70 km away said the quake lasted around 30 seconds.

Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) cut off power on safety grounds. It hoped to reconnect supplies as soon as possible, it said on Twitter.

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake off southern Puerto Rico on Monday knocked several houses off their supporting pillars in the towns of Guanica and Guayanilla. Television images showed vehicles crushed beneath them.

That quake also destroyed the Window of the Caribbean, a rock formation on a beach that had been a tourist attraction, but there were no reports of injuries.

Writing by Kevin Liffey and Shubham Kalia; editing by John Stonestreet

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