First Look

55th Anniversary of the Destructive Montego Bay Earthquake

ODPEM | 2012-03-02 08:11:00

Today marks the 55th Anniversary of the destructive Montego Bay earthquake which struck the second city in 1957 causing severe damage to properties and infrastructure including ­the St. James Parish Church. In addition, a 180 metres strip along the coast of Port Royal disappeared beneath the sea and four persons were reported dead as a result of the quake.

Until 1957 there was no Seismic network in Jamaica however, a Seismic Station at Winchester Park was established but had been damaged beyond repair in the 1957 quake. Within a few years Jamaica formally became a part of the West Indies Federation Seismic Network operated by the Seismic Research Unit (now Seismic Research Centre) of UWI Trinidad.

Prof (Ted) Robinson currently the Emeritus Professor of Geology at the University of the West Indies (UWI) was among the team that investigated the 1957 quake and is currently the only member of that team who is still active today in this area.

Jamaica is situated within the Enriquillo Plantain Garden Fault Zone, which is the same fault zone that caused the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. Researchers have indicated that there is a potential for a magnitude 7- 7.5 occurring anywhere along this area. With this knowledge the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) continues its public education and general awareness to encourage Jamaicans to implement more active earthquake preparedness measures to effectively reduce our risk to this unpredictable hazard.

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Posted By :Kimberley Weller

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