A series of earthquakes have rocked the Caribbean today and scientists are concerned that another volcanic eruption is possible in the Lesser Antilles on the island of Martinique.
17 earthquakes struck the Caribbean today, with most around western and southern Puerto Rico. The strongest earthquake in the area struck this morning about 75 miles north of The Valley on Anguilla; it was measured at 4.1. A 4.0 struck in the same general area just hours before. On the north coast of Venezuela, a 5.0 earthquake also struck early today. None of these earthquakes were strong enough to generate a tsunami in the Caribbean, and no tsunami threat exists in the Bahamas or the U.S. east coast at this time.
However, scientists are concerned that a swarm of earthquakes occurring on the island of Martinique may be a sign that Mount Pelee could be getting ready for an eruption soon. Seismic and volcanic activity on the French island in the Caribbean is monitored by Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris and the Observatoire volcanologique et sismologique de Martinique. According to that observatory, between June 4 and June 11 at least 16 volcano-tectonic earthquakes were recorded; they were located inside the volcanic edifice between sea level and above sea level. While these earthquakes were not felt by the population on the island, they are the kind associated with the formation of micro-fractures in the volcanic edifice. The observatory stated, “During phases of volcanic reactivation, periods of higher seismic activity often alternate with phases of lower seismicity. Seismicity remains above the baseline level.”
Scientists there also report that vegetation appears to be brown and dead along the southwest flank of Mount Pelee, which could be an indication of the presence of volcanic heat and/or lethal gases coming up from inside the Earth around the volcano.