About Last Night’s Earthquake & Tsunami Threats

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Range of the Septemeber 8, 2017 Earthquake

The September 8th, 2017 magnitude 8.1 earthquake that was felt by some in Utila occured offshore Chiapas, Mexico. It occurred as the result of normal faulting at an intermediate depth. “Focal mechanism solutions for the earthquake indicate slip occurred on either a fault dipping very shallowly towards the southwest, or on steeply dipping fault striking NW-SE.” (US Geolocial Survey)

About Earthquakes & Tsunami Threats Near Utila

The below digram (click to enlarge) shows historical eartquakes near Utila from 1900-2016. Take particilar note along the Cayman Trench that runs north of the Bay Islands in the Gulf of Honduras.

Earthquakes 1900-2016
Earthquakes in our region since 1900

To be better informed, the below video provides some insight into tsunami preparedness:

Along the northern margin of the Caribbean plate, the North America plate moves westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at a velocity of approximately 20 mm/yr. Motion is accommodated along several major transform faults that extend eastward from Isla de Roatan to Haiti, including the Swan Island Fault and the Oriente Fault. These faults represent the southern and northern boundaries of the Cayman Trench. -US Geological Survey

The US Government provides these tsunami safety tips:

  • Find out if there are evacuation routes and assembly areas identified for your community. Ask your local emergency management office.
  • If assembly areas are not identified, plan to evacuate to a safe place that is on high ground or inland (away from the water) and outside the tsunami hazard or evacuation zone.
  • You may need to identify more than one safe place, depending on where you may be when you get a tsunami warning (e.g., home, work, etc.). You should plan to be able to reach your safe place on foot if you can because of possible road damage.
  • Map out evacuation routes to your safe place(s) from your home, workplace or any other place you visit often that is in a tsunami hazard or evacuation zone.
  • Practice walking your evacuation routes, including at night and in bad weather. Familiarity with the routes will make evacuation quicker and easier if you ever need to evacuate for real.
  • If you have children that go to school in a tsunami hazard or evacuation zone, find out about the school’s plans for evacuating and keeping the children safe. Find out where the assembly area is and where you should pick up your children after the danger has passed.
  • If you are visiting an area at risk for a tsunami, find out about local tsunami safety. Your hotel or campground may be able to provide you with tsunami warning and evacuation information. It is important to know this information before a warning is issued. You may not have a lot of time after a warning. You do not want to waste it figuring out what to do.

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