Sunday 8 September 2013

Magnitude 3.1 Earthquake off the north coast of the Dominican Republic.

Slightly before 7.05 am on Saturday 7 September 2013, a Magnitude 3.1 Earthquake at a depth of 35 km occurred about 20 km of the north coast of the Dominican Republic, according to the United States Geological Survey. An Earthquake this small and this far offshore is not usually dangerous, and on this occasion there are no reports of anybody having felt the event.

The approximate location of the 7 September 2013 Dominican Republic Earthquake. Google Maps.

The Dominican Republic forms the eastern part of the island of La Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles.  The island has a complex geological structure, with parts of it lying on three different tectonic plates, and two plate margins running east-to-west across the island.

The northernmost part of the island lies on the North American Plate. This is divided from the Gonâve Microplate by the Septentrional Fault Zone, which runs through Rio San Juan, along the north coast of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, then across the Windward Passage and along the south coast of Cuba. The Gonâve Microplate is moving east relative to the North American Plate, pushed by the Mid-Cayman Spreading centre to the west of Jamaica.

To the south the Gonâve Microplate is separated from the Caribbean Plate by the Enriquilo-Plantain Garden Fault Zone, which runs across Southern Haiti and the Dominican Republic. To the west the fault runs through central Jamaica. The Caribbean Plate is rotating clockwise, effectively moving east relative to the Gonâve Microplate.

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