A 5.4 magnitude earthquake has shaken Jamaica with no reports of casualties or serious damage
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit Jamaica on Monday, prompting people to flee buildings amid heavy shaking.
The earthquake was located about 2 miles (4 kilometers) west-northwest of Hope Bay, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It occurred at a shallow depth of 6 miles (10 kilometers).
There were no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage.
The earthquake prompted panic on the island. Members attending the U.N.'s International Seabed Authority meeting that began Monday could be seeing fleeing on camera before the broadcast cut off. The group eventually returned, but decided to postpone the meeting to late afternoon Monday amid jitters.
“We need some time to adjust emotionally,” said Elza Moreira Marcelino de Castro, Brazil’s representative.
Food, wine bottles and other items flew off the shelves at grocery stores when the quake struck, and some damage to buildings was reported.
One unidentified journalist was on-air in Jamaica when the ground began shaking.
“We’re having an earthquake,” he said calmly.
Then, the shaking grew stronger.
“Oh, God,” he said as the lights flickered off and he sought shelter under a desk.
While small earthquakes are common in and around Jamaica — some 200 a year — large ones are rare. The devastating Port Royal earthquake occurred in 1692, with a portion of the town sinking into the sea. Then in 1907, a quake struck the capital, Kingston, killing more than 1,000 people. Another big quake was reported in March 1957, affecting mostly western Jamaica, according to the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica.
The island sits atop the Enriquillo–Plantain Garden fault zone, which it shares with Haiti and the Dominican Republic, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.