The Puerto Rico Trench

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The Puerto Rico Trench: : 

The Puerto Rico Trench: Death Lurking Beneath the Ocean?

The Puerto Rico Trench is an oceanic trench located on the boundary of the Caribbean and the North America Plates…an area of high seismicity. : 

The Puerto Rico Trench is an oceanic trench located on the boundary of the Caribbean and the North America Plates…an area of high seismicity.

What are the ramifications of a significant slip or rupture of the subduction zone area by the Puerto Rico Trench, and can anything be done to prevent, avoid, or otherwise warn the general public? : 

What are the ramifications of a significant slip or rupture of the subduction zone area by the Puerto Rico Trench, and can anything be done to prevent, avoid, or otherwise warn the general public?

With a population of 4 million people, coupled with an additional influx of 4 million tourists annually, Puerto Rico is one of the most densely populated islands in the world. : 

With a population of 4 million people, coupled with an additional influx of 4 million tourists annually, Puerto Rico is one of the most densely populated islands in the world.

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The majority of the population live along the coastlines of Puerto Rico…

“San Juan is one of Puerto Rico's most important seaports, and is the island's manufacturing, financial, cultural, and tourism center. The population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area, including San Juan and the municipalities of Bayamón, Guaynabo, Cataño, Canóvanas, Caguas, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Carolina and Trujillo Alto, is about 2 million inhabitants; thus, about half the population of Puerto Rico now lives and works in this area.” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Juan,_Puerto_Rico) : 

“San Juan is one of Puerto Rico's most important seaports, and is the island's manufacturing, financial, cultural, and tourism center. The population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area, including San Juan and the municipalities of Bayamón, Guaynabo, Cataño, Canóvanas, Caguas, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Carolina and Trujillo Alto, is about 2 million inhabitants; thus, about half the population of Puerto Rico now lives and works in this area.” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Juan,_Puerto_Rico)

The North America plate subducts beneath the Caribbean plate, creating the Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of focus earthquakes in the subduction zone. : 

The North America plate subducts beneath the Caribbean plate, creating the Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of focus earthquakes in the subduction zone.

The North Hispaniola Fault along the east and north of Puerto Rico is a continuous thrust fault with a very low angle thrust, which is responsible for magnitude 7.5-8.1 earthquakes. : 

The North Hispaniola Fault along the east and north of Puerto Rico is a continuous thrust fault with a very low angle thrust, which is responsible for magnitude 7.5-8.1 earthquakes.

In addition to tectonic activity and a high probability of seismic occurrence, large amphitheater-shaped scarps are located on the northern insular slope of Puerto Rico, 37 km north of the city of Arecibo. : 

In addition to tectonic activity and a high probability of seismic occurrence, large amphitheater-shaped scarps are located on the northern insular slope of Puerto Rico, 37 km north of the city of Arecibo.

The 9.1-9.3 magnitude Sumatran-Andaman earthquake and subsequent tsunami of December 26, 2004 were the result of megathrust subduction activity... : 

The 9.1-9.3 magnitude Sumatran-Andaman earthquake and subsequent tsunami of December 26, 2004 were the result of megathrust subduction activity...

Over 230,000 people in more than14 countries lost their lives that day… : 

Over 230,000 people in more than14 countries lost their lives that day…

Puerto Rico has experienced earthquakes and tsunamis in the past… : 

Puerto Rico has experienced earthquakes and tsunamis in the past…

May 2, 1787 – 8.0 magnitude earthquake. The strongest earthquake in Puerto Rico since colonization. Epicenter was in the Puerto Rico Trench.November 18, 1867 – 7.5 magnitude earthquake. Produced a tsunami that ran inland 150 meters. : 

May 2, 1787 – 8.0 magnitude earthquake. The strongest earthquake in Puerto Rico since colonization. Epicenter was in the Puerto Rico Trench.November 18, 1867 – 7.5 magnitude earthquake. Produced a tsunami that ran inland 150 meters.

October 11, 1918 – 7.5 magnitude earthquake accompanied by a tsunami 6 meters high. 116 people died, 40 as a result of the tsunami. : 

October 11, 1918 – 7.5 magnitude earthquake accompanied by a tsunami 6 meters high. 116 people died, 40 as a result of the tsunami.

May 16, 2010 – a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in an inclined seismic zone that dips south from the Puerto Rico Trench. : 

May 16, 2010 – a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in an inclined seismic zone that dips south from the Puerto Rico Trench.

Of greater concern is that the actual subduction zone where the Puerto Rico Trench lies has not ruptured in over 200 years… : 

Of greater concern is that the actual subduction zone where the Puerto Rico Trench lies has not ruptured in over 200 years…

The last rupture of the subducted area of the Puerto Rico Trench was in 1787. : 

The last rupture of the subducted area of the Puerto Rico Trench was in 1787.

According to Christa von Hillebrandt, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program, Puerto Ricans are far from prepared for such a disaster. : 

According to Christa von Hillebrandt, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program, Puerto Ricans are far from prepared for such a disaster.

NOAA has set aside $4 million dollars for tsunami preparation measures, disbursed in $1 million grants each year … : 

NOAA has set aside $4 million dollars for tsunami preparation measures, disbursed in $1 million grants each year …

Puerto Rico is essentially broke, as their Debt equals their GNP, and budget constraints limit how much municipalities can spend on tsunami preparedness. : 

Puerto Rico is essentially broke, as their Debt equals their GNP, and budget constraints limit how much municipalities can spend on tsunami preparedness.

Von Hillebrandt was especially concerned over the complacency of the Puerto Rican people over tsunami danger, as the island has not experienced major earthshaking disaster since 1918. : 

Von Hillebrandt was especially concerned over the complacency of the Puerto Rican people over tsunami danger, as the island has not experienced major earthshaking disaster since 1918.

Puerto Rico needs to implement more measures to insure that they will be ready to deal with such a future disaster, such as have evacuation plans in place, shelters, food, water and readily available emergency aid. : 

Puerto Rico needs to implement more measures to insure that they will be ready to deal with such a future disaster, such as have evacuation plans in place, shelters, food, water and readily available emergency aid.

However, over 2 million people visiting the coasts of Puerto Rico, along with a complacent government with no money creates a recipe for disaster that can potentially dwarf that of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. : 

However, over 2 million people visiting the coasts of Puerto Rico, along with a complacent government with no money creates a recipe for disaster that can potentially dwarf that of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.

Death is definitely lurking beneath the ocean, and it’s only a matter of time before the people of Puerto Rico will experience a catastrophic event such as a mega-earthquake and tsunami. : 

Death is definitely lurking beneath the ocean, and it’s only a matter of time before the people of Puerto Rico will experience a catastrophic event such as a mega-earthquake and tsunami.

The time to prepare is now, so that millions of lives can be saved… : 

The time to prepare is now, so that millions of lives can be saved…

Powerpoint presentation by Jose RamirezGeology 101 : 

Powerpoint presentation by Jose RamirezGeology 101

Music by Vitaliy Zavadskyy : 

Music by Vitaliy Zavadskyy

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