Earthquakes; could the Dominican Republic be facing a massive quake? - February 27 the Dominican Republic experienced a 4.5 magnitude earthquake just 5 km from Cevicos. Although a 4.5 earthquake is designated to be moderate, there are signs that they could be facing the danger of a massive quake in the future.

Dominican Republic - recent quake reports

In the past seven days, the region has experienced seven earthquakes of 3.4 or higher and according to the Earthquake Track Website, there have been more than 14 in the last month or so. Is there a possibility that these earthquakes in the Dominican Republic could be a warning sign that a massive quake might be on the way?

A huge quake that happened in 1946 measured 8.1 on the surface wave magnitude scale. The aftershock four days later on 8th August registered at 7.4 magnitude and a tsunami was triggered. The tsunami was registered across the across Hispaniola where it caused a lot of damage and killed one hundred people. The wave was observed across the Caribbean and the southern Atlantic Ocean.

The Enriquillo fault system wakes up

The Washington Post released information from a report by scientists which indicated that the 2010 Haiti quake which killed "314,000 people and toppled thousands of crudely built homes," was due to dangerous Seismic Activity along the Enriquillo fault system. According to William Bakun of the U.S.

Geological Survey, “The entire Enriquillo fault system appears to be seismically active; Haiti and the Dominican Republic should prepare for future devastating earthquakes.”

The Enriquillo fault system had previously been quiescence for 240 years and "The possibility that a newly active period has begun underscores the need for Haiti and the Dominican Republic to focus on building seismic-proof structures," Bakun said.

Is the Dominican Republic equipped to handle a massive quake?

The reality is that news came to light that indicates the Dominican Republic is simply not ready to face a massive earthquake. In February 2012 the Dominican Watchdog cited a report by Dominican Today as saying that the director of the Emergency Operations Center said they had too little money and not enough resources to educate and instruct the population about earthquake dangers and impacts.

This may be better addressed in 2017 as Tsunami drills have been practiced in the country. In 2015 a large-scale tsunami response exercise happened in the Caribbean which was aimed at "advancing tsunami preparedness efforts in the Caribbean and Adjacent regions." Earthquakes and Tsunami's go hand in hand

The US Embassy in San Domingo advise their citizens to be aware that the area is seismic but say the danger is moderate. However, much like California, the possibility of the "Big One" does exist.