5 Facts: Earthquakes In Jamaica

1907 Earthquake. Courtesy of the National Army Museum, London

It’s Earthquake Awareness Week.

Yesterday, we shared 11 Essential Earthquake Safety Tips.  Today, our Five Facts Friday will focus on earthquake facts from our history.

  1. According to the Earthquake Unit at the University of the West Indies, about 200 earthquakes are located in and around Jamaica per year most of which are minor, having magnitudes less than 4.0.
  2. The dates of Jamaica’s most damaging earthquakes were: 1667, March 1, 1688, June 7, 1692, September 3, 1771, November 11, 1812, April 10, 1824, November 5, 1839, January 14, 1907, August 3, 1914, July 5, 1943, March 1, 1957, January 13, 1993, June 12, 2005. See this list for more details about places affected and damage observed.
  3. The largest and most damaging natural disaster in Jamaica was the famous Port Royal earthquake of June 7, 1692 It was felt island-wide and a part of Port Royal sank into the sea.  It was reported that at least 2,000 persons died as a result of an outbreak of yellow fever, which developed after the quake.
  4. On January 14, 1907, the city of Kingston was severely damaged by an earthquake.  It was reported that over 1,000 people died mostly in the fires following the main shock and after-shocks. After-shocks continued for the rest of the year.
  5. The largest event after 1907 was on March 1, 1957.  Buildings and infrastructure in Western Jamaica suffered the most damage and a bit of the Port Royal coast sank into the sea.