Saturday, March 04, 2006

Earthquake and Volcanic Activity in the Caribbean


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

As the earth flexes and shivers after the Great Boxing Day Quake, various parts are now responding to the rapid changes over in Asia and the Pacific Plate.

I got this email the other day from Marty Salo:
HUH? What's going on here? Seems like alot of activity recently, and at different depths.

MAG UTC DATE-TIMy/m/d h:m:s LAT
deg LON
deg DEPTH
km LOCATION
MAP 3.6 2006/03/03 14:36:36 19.113 -63.991 5.0 55 km ( 34 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 4.4 2006/03/03 13:09:31 19.060 -63.681 39.3 77 km ( 48 mi) ENE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.8 2006/03/03 10:07:34 19.160 -63.900 15.5 65 km ( 40 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.8 2006/03/03 09:53:32 19.257 -63.597 21.7 96 km ( 60 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.4 2006/03/03 09:02:06 19.007 -64.184 3.5 34 km ( 21 mi) NNE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 2.2 2006/03/03 08:37:00 18.352 -64.966 41.1 4 km ( 2 mi) W of CHARLOTTE AMALIE, US Virgin Islands
MAP 3.2 2006/03/03 08:30:41 19.032 -63.947 6.6 52 km ( 32 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 2.8 2006/03/03 08:16:58 19.127 -65.602 24.6 82 km ( 51 mi) NNE of Vieques, PR
MAP 3.2 2006/03/03 07:18:38 19.242 -63.813 24.8 78 km ( 48 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.3 2006/03/03 07:05:13 18.985 -63.826 7.8 59 km ( 37 mi) ENE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.5 2006/03/03 03:53:41 19.177 -63.549 6.0 95 km ( 59 mi) ENE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.3 2006/03/03 03:51:43 19.357 -63.644 20.3 100 km ( 62 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.7 2006/03/03 03:39:31 19.122 -63.931 8.3 60 km ( 37 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.6 2006/03/03 02:32:15 19.182 -63.828 20.0 72 km ( 45 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.4 2006/03/03 02:23:45 18.740 -63.560 11.1 75 km ( 47 mi) ENE of West End, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.6 2006/03/03 02:21:29 19.452 -63.946 60.1 89 km ( 56 mi) NNE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.7 2006/03/03 02:13:46 19.011 -63.823 10.0 61 km ( 38 mi) ENE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.5 2006/03/03 01:32:46 19.090 -63.724 23.9 74 km ( 46 mi) ENE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.8 2006/03/03 01:20:45 19.137 -63.883 5.0 65 km ( 40 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.3 2006/03/03 01:18:52 19.125 -63.795 13.4 71 km ( 44 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 2.2 2006/03/03 00:50:44 18.163 -67.322 30.0 17 km ( 11 mi) WNW of Puerto Real, PR
MAP 3.2 2006/03/03 00:50:13 19.087 -63.539 24.8 91 km ( 57 mi) ENE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.4 2006/03/03 00:42:28 18.970 -63.752 31.5 65 km ( 41 mi) ENE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.7 2006/03/03 00:25:37 19.137 -63.971 5.0 58 km ( 36 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 2.3 2006/03/03 00:22:31 19.089 -64.076 16.8 47 km ( 29 mi) NNE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.2 2006/03/03 00:21:17 19.053 -64.044 2.9 46 km ( 29 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.3 2006/03/03 00:19:55 19.056 -63.892 15.0 58 km ( 36 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.2 2006/03/03 00:19:53 19.073 -63.774 20.2 69 km ( 43 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.5 2006/03/03 00:18:12 19.104 -63.916 8.1 59 km ( 37 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.1 2006/03/03 00:16:27 19.115 -63.797 15.0 70 km ( 43 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.4 2006/03/03 00:04:44 18.757 -63.617 30.1 71 km ( 44 mi) NE of West End, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.7 2006/03/02 23:59:12 19.282 -63.582 50.5 99 km ( 61 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 2.3 2006/03/02 23:58:46 18.441 -63.639 29.3 57 km ( 36 mi) E of West End, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.5 2006/03/02 23:57:11 19.291 -63.687 30.1 91 km ( 57 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 2.8 2006/03/02 23:56:34 19.069 -63.963 42.8 53 km ( 33 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.6 2006/03/02 23:53:57 19.061 -63.907 31.3 57 km ( 35 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.8 2006/03/02 23:51:35 19.147 -63.803 5.0 71 km ( 44 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.7 2006/03/02 23:45:36 19.139 -63.791 15.1 72 km ( 45 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 5.3 2006/03/02 23:35:44 19.358 -63.787 24.8 89 km ( 56 mi) NE of Settlement, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.1 2006/03/02 21:25:08 18.610 -67.584 5.0 46 km ( 29 mi) NW of Rincón, PR
MAP 3.3 2006/03/02 08:25:53 19.427 -68.082 43.7 111 km ( 69 mi) NE of Higüey, Dominican Republic
MAP 3.4 2006/03/01 12:38:24 18.855 -68.701 58.2 26 km ( 16 mi) N of Higüey, Dominican Republic
MAP 3.2 2006/03/01 06:44:57 18.084 -67.878 101.2 72 km ( 45 mi) WSW of Stella, PR
MAP 3.2 2006/03/01 01:35:28 18.135 -64.249 5.0 30 km ( 19 mi) SSW of West End, British Virgin Islands
MAP 3.4 2006/02/28 15:14:00 18.040 -67.915 72.6 77 km ( 48 mi) W of Puerto Real, PR
MAP 2.6 2006/02/28 14:12:39 18.507 -66.266 119.8 5 km ( 3 mi) N of Dorado, PR
MAP 2.8 2006/02/28 12:25:27 19.113 -67.121 10.0 69 km ( 43 mi) N of Isabela, PR
MAP 3.2 2006/02/28 11:12:13 19.084 -67.144 10.0 66 km ( 41 mi) N of Isabela, PR
MAP 2.8 2006/02/28 06:11:18 18.466 -66.082 108.8 6 km ( 4 mi) NNW of San Juan, PR
MAP 3.2 2006/02/28 01:32:34 18.754 -67.401 16.0 44 km ( 27 mi) NW of Aguadilla, PR
MAP 3.5 2006/02/27 23:06:41 17.452 -68.299 118.2 130 km ( 81 mi) SSE of La Romana, Dominican Republic
MAP 2.8 2006/02/27 10:15:07 18.221 -67.197 87.1 6 km ( 4 mi) WNW of Mayagüez, PR
MAP 3.0 2006/02/27 04:09:11 18.231 -67.194 123.8 6 km ( 4 mi) S of La Playa, PR
MAP 3.6 2006/02/27 02:08:45 19.471 -68.882 47.1 55 km ( 34 mi) ENE of Samaná, Dominican Republic
MAP 2.7 2006/02/26 19:12:44 18.172 -67.390 49.9 23 km ( 14 mi) SW of Stella, PR
MAP 2.5 2006/02/26 10:26:00 18.114 -66.075 23.5 3 km ( 2 mi) ESE of G. L. García, PR
MAP 2.3 2006/02/26 09:54:51 18.170 -66.701 20.4 3 km ( 2 mi) ENE of Adjuntas, PR
MAP 2.5 2006/02/26 07:41:01 18.699 -66.457 58.2 27 km ( 17 mi) N of Tierras Nuevas Poniente, PR
MAP 3.1 2006/02/26 00:32:59 19.438 -65.469 4.3 119 km ( 74 mi) NNE of Vieques, PR
MAP 2.9 2006/02/25 09:21:43 18.979 -65.038 20.9 70 km ( 44 mi) NNW of Little Harbour, British Virgin Islands
MAP 4.4 2006/02/25 06:43:34 18.264 -68.433 160.4 49 km ( 31 mi) SE of Higüey, Dominican Republic
I have been looking at the greater quakes in this area. The recent quake in the Gulf of Mexico startled me a bit.
I have noticed over the last year or so, many earthquakes like to happen at 10.0 km. Whether under water or on land. It is like the earth's crust has this blanket on top that operates independent of the lower layers. Some of our nastiest quakes occur at this depth, the earth's blanket being shaken and tugged like Mother Nature is straightening out the bed.

The geology where this happened is interesting because it isn't all that prone to earthquakes. Just last week, I noted there was a much gentler earthquake right in New Orleans just when tornadoes were hitting that poor city! The New Madrid Fault has been shaking a bit, lately. As if it were trembling, waiting for something.
Indeed, many things will happen now. About 100 years ago, there was a rash of activity in the Caribbean. One volcano belched poison fumes
On 8th May 1902, Mt Pelée, in Martinique erupted. A glowing avalanche (pyroclastic flow) from the eruption destroyed the town of St Pierre and its 28,000 inhabitants. Only one person, a prisoner, survived.

In 1902, the Soufriere volcano in St Vincent erupted. The eruption began on 6th May, 1902 and continued until 30th March, 1903. 1,565 people were killed and extensive damage was done to agriculture in the areas around the volcano. The Soufriere volcano erupted again in 1979.Between 2001,Kick'em Jenny also showed signs of activity which placed the suronding islands on yellow alert.
The poor prisoner was rescued. He made his living thereafter, appearing at theaters and carnivals.

I was once cleaning out a theater's back rooms, back when I used to go on stage, and I found a huge banner which was tattered and very old. "The ONLY surivor of Mt. Pele! See him reenact historic event!" I used to dance the works of the trio of famous American modern dancers, the three women who created modern dance, Isadora Duncan, Loie Fuller and Ruth St. Denis. St. Denis did this wonderful dance with 100 yds of silk, called "Mt. Pele Erupts" which I drew above based on a very old photo of this dance.

Since the volcanoes haven't killed thousands in recent memory, we tend to forget this daisy chain along the Caribbean/Atlantic subjunction zone.


In the last three days, the earthquakes have been not only greater in intensity but the ones along Central America have been very active, too. This leads into the San Andreas rift zone quakes. This rift has been onimously quiet the last year, a bad sign.

Obviously, the Pacific Plate is shoving against Central America which is, in turn, pinching the Caribbean Plate since the Atlanic, moving slower but just as relentlessly, has been having quite a few 5+ earthquake events this last six months. One can almost feel the earth bulging.

The Super Volcano is in the news today, too. This is the mega monster that heaves and sighs barely under the surface of the earth in Yellowstone. It has been slithering around just under the surface a lot lately. From National Geographic:
Molten rock flowing beneath Yellowstone has been causing the national park to rise and fall, scientists say.

Periodic uplifting and settling has occurred here over the last 15,000 years.

A new model helps explain the latest episode of rapid surface rise and increased geyser activity—from 1997 to 2003—in the volcanically active region in the western United States.
A number of gysers have either returned into action or new ones have appeared. The fact that the lava just under the surface has sighed back down except the caldera walls are still heaving upwards, only means it is alive, not safe at all. We can only guess at what is going on downstairs. The latest images show the caldera's many rings quite clearly and one can sense how the entire region breathes up and down with the lava's movement, it is stunningly huge. Perhaps one can say, it is directly affected by the California rift zone's own activities?

Geology is not only a very exciting field, there is so little we know and of course, understanding how the entire eco-interplanetary/interstellar systems coexist and interact is life and death for us humans! Which takes me back to all the cut backs in science that the GOP is increasingly imposing upon us. This is beyond stupid, it can be fatal!

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