A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 has struck the northern coast of Venezuela, forcing the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to briefly issue a warning for coastal areas within a 300 km radius of the epicenter.
The deep jolt, registered by USGS at depth of 123 km, was most strongly felt around the Gulf of Paria area but has also shaken buildings in the capital, Caracas. However, according to the Venezuelan Seismological Research Foundation, the earthquake was somewhat smaller and a lot more shallow, measuring 6.3 in magnitude and less than a kilometer deep.
After issuing an initial tsunami warning for the Venezuelan coast and neighboring Trinidad & Tobago, as well as Grenada, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) updated its alert, noting that "there is no tsunami threat from this earthquake." People along the coast are still asked to "remain observant" and to exercise "caution" near the sea. Sea fluctuations "up to 30 cm" above or below normal tide may still take place over the course of the next few hours along the coastal areas, the PTWC advised.
Major #earthquake (#sismo) shakes Sucre, Venezuela 8 min ago. Map of eyewitnesses' felt reports: pic.twitter.com/LPSSRSb7UD— EMSC (@LastQuake) August 21, 2018
In addition to Caracas, the jolts impacted Margarita, Maracay, Vargas, Lara, Tachira, Zulia, Maturin and Valencia, among other areas.
Authorities have now begun assessing the damage from the quake, a video tweet from Paramedicos Viales showed.
#Temblor desalojada la torre del ministerio @TransporteGobVe en Chacao sin novedad @paramedicosmtt inspeccionan los pisos @tupamarohipolit@FMCENTER@PCivil_Vepic.twitter.com/9eNR3myiX5— Paramedicos Viales (@paramedicosmtt) August 21, 2018
Addressing the nation on television, Venezuela's Interior Minister and the Commander-General of the National Guard, Nestor Reverol, noted that so far there weren't any reports of victims. Caracas, he said, is now coordinating with local governors to assess the damage from the quake. "We have activated the entire risk assessment team," the minister noted.