PONCE, Puerto Rico (AP) — A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico before dawn on Tuesday, killing one man, injuring at least eight other people and collapsing buildings.
The quake was followed by a series of strong aftershocks, part of a 10-day series of temblors spawned by the grinding of tectonic plates along three faults beneath southern Puerto Rico.
Seismologists say it’s impossible to predict when the quakes will stop or whether they will get stronger.
The 6.4-magnitude quake cut power to the island as power plants shut down to protect themselves.
Puerto Rico’s power authority said that one of the country’s main power plants had been damages, knocking out power to virtually the entire island. Authorities say they expect power to be restored later Tuesday. Puerto Rico’s main airport was operating normally, using generator power.
Eight people were injured in Ponce, Mayor Mayita Meléndez told WAPA television.
Hundreds of people sat in the streets of the city, some cooking food on barbeque grills, afraid to return home for fear of structural damage and aftershocks.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit at 4:24 a.m. just south of the island at a shallow depth of six miles.
It initially gave the magnitude as 6.6 but later adjusted it.
At 7:18 a.m., a magnitude-6.0 aftershock hit the same area.
People reported strong shaking and staff at a local radio station said live on air that they were leaving their building.
A tsunami alert was issued for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after the initial quake, but was later cancelled. The earthquake was also felt in The Bahamas, The US and British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic and Haiti.
On Monday, parts of the island was rocked by a 5.8-earthquake. While damage was reported to some homes, no deaths or injuries were reported on Monday.