Just a day after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake knocked out power to the southern part of Puerto Rico, the entire island is in the dark after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake broke out early Tuesday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The Richter scale is logarithmic, which means this quake was much more powerful than Monday’s, and the damage reports show as much. At least one person died after a wall in his home collapsed on him, El Nuevo Dia reports. Aftershocks have rattled the island throughout the morning, the strongest of which was a magnitude 5.6. Tuesday’s events follow weeks of hundreds of tiny quakes shaking off the southern coast of the island. Luckily, no tsunami followed though local authorities did issue a warning following the quake.
Still, many people sought higher ground in a panic. In the town of Guánica, which faced mild damage Monday, video shows entire streets appeared ruined as homes crumbled onto the street and power lines were uprooted. The municipality of Yauco saw the destruction of at least eight homes. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority is planning to have power returned by this afternoon, according to El Nuevo Dia, as several power plants deal with damage following Tuesday’s earthquakes.
Así quedó una comunidad en Guánica tras sismo de sobre seis grados ocurrido esta mañana. pic.twitter.com/5LFjFAfnr3
— Metro Puerto Rico (@Metro_PR) January 7, 2020
All this damage and the subsequent blackout comes at a period that the island continues to be in need of aid to recover from Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico more than two years ago. The loss of power shows how much work the island still needs to be prepared for future natural disasters, and how little the Trump administration has done to help.
Earthquakes happen regularly on the island but not at this level. The last earthquake to shake the island with more force was a magnitude 7.7 quake in 1943. In 1970, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake also struck between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The current bout of shaking may not be over yet with the USGS calling more aftershocks in the coming days.