Northeast Ohio researcher who once studied earthquakes in Puerto Rico gives perspective on current situation

Plates colliding are actually pushing the island higher.

NEO researcher who once studied earthquakes in Puerto Rico gives perspective on current situation

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Puerto Rico has been shaking steadily since Dec. 28 with more than 100 earthquakes.

A quake Monday morning was the largest so far, measuring at a 5.8 magnitude.

Dr. David Saja, with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, was in Puerto Rico 25 years ago and studied the unique region.

“This is what we call episodic, mean it comes and goes. It’s part of an ongoing process,” Saja said of the large number of quakes plaguing the island in the past few weeks.

When Saja was on the island it was to study the unique situation it is in, where multiple plates come together at one point on the ocean floor.

“Puerto Rico is a double subduction zone,” Saja said. “The island is caught between the North American Plate moving southwest and the Caribbean Plate moving northeast.”

The meeting of the two plates means something has to give, or shake, as they pass over and under each other.

In the case of Puerto Rico quakes, the North American Plate is diving under the Caribbean plate, and it’s actually pushing the entire island up.

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