The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 5.2 Earthquake at a depth of 14.0 km roughly 3 km to the northwest of the town of Vila Elisa in Monte Cristi Province in the Dominican Republic, at about 1.45 am local time (about 5.45 am GMT) on Sunday 23 September 2018. There are some reports of minor damage associated with this event, and people have reported feeling it across most of the Dominican Republic, as well as parts of Haiti and Puerto RIco.
Damage to a house in Los Limones, Dominican Republic, following an Earthquake on 23 September 2018. Wilson Aracena/Diario Libre.
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.
Plate movements and fault zones around the Gonâve Microplate. Mike Norton/Wikimedia Commons.
Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here