An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 rocked Venezuela and several Eastern Caribbean islands on Tuesday.
The powerful earthquake hit eastern Venezuela at 5:31 pm and was felt in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Grenada, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Trinidad based Seismic Research Center (SRC) said the earthquake had a depth of 73 kilometres, and its position in Venezuela at 55 km east southeast of Carúpano, 95 km northeast of Maturín, and 131 km southeast of Porlamar.
Initially it was reported that the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.8 but that was later upgraded to 7.3.
Seismologist at the SRC, Dr Joan Latchman has cautioned residents of the region that aftershocks from the strong quake could be expected for days to come. Another earthquake is also possible, she said late Tuesday.
Structural damages but no casualties
There have been early reports and images posted on social media of structural damage to buildings, severe cracks in floors, parking lots and roads, and of goods falling from grocery-store shelves. But there has been no reports of casualties.
Witnesses reported seeing and feeling their homes, and even some of the contents, shaking when the quake hit.
Speaking in a Facebook live video about an hour after the quake occurred, Latchman said there would be more tremors, noting that up to that point there had been at least seven aftershocks.
“…Most of which you would not feel, but we can have an earthquake of this magnitude…and we expect that we can have an earthquake in the 5.0 to 5.9 magnitude range and this can happen within hours. Going by what we have seen in the past, within three to five hours we would not be surprised, or tomorrow, or sometime this week,” she said.
“There is no formula for us to tell you when the aftershocks will occur. We were just looking at patterns of the past to guide.”
Despite initial reports to the contrary, there was no tsunami threat from the earthquake.