Puerto Rico faced a 5.8-magnitude quake in the predawn hours Monday that destroyed the iconic Playa Ventana in Guayanilla. Earthquakes are natural disasters and the extent of damage they can inflict in terms of lives and property is unpredictable. In this case, the place was one of the island’s famous tourist attractions. The tremors resulted in the collapse of this well-known rock formation. It has another name - Window Beach. This is because the formation that rises above the water has a huge hole. One gets a feeling of enjoying and watching the sea through a window.

This used to be a Travel destination and attracted tourists. Puerto Ricans will have to bear with the loss.

Daily Mail UK quotes US Geological Service (USGS) as saying that the earthquake struck at 6.32 AM in the southern region at a depth of six miles. This fell in the category of a shallow quake. They have ruled out any tsunami threat, but cautioned that there could be aftershocks of more than magnitude 5.8. Incidentally, there were a number of quakes from the night of December 28 of lesser magnitude.

Effect of the earthquake

When a natural disaster like an earthquake strikes, it takes everyone by surprise.

Houses come crashing down, infrastructure suffers damage, there are landslides, and power outages. It was no different with roads blocked by debris, rocks, and boulders. The quake had been building up for over a week and when it struck, it was the strongest quake yet to hit Puerto Rico. This is the age of social media and residents rushed to share images of the aftermath.

There were collapsed homes, damaged power lines and other things blocking the streets.

The Daily Mail UK says that Mayor Santos Seda of Guánica indicated the collapse of several homes and varying degrees of damages to others.

Many residents noticed cracks in the walls which can happen in such situations. In October 1918, Puerto Rico faced the largest and most damaging earthquakes. It was of 7.3-magnitude and struck the northwest coast that unleashed a tsunami and left 116 dead. While earthquakes are natural disasters and scientists can predict such an occurrence, they can't predict the exact location or the time. Hence, people do not get an opportunity to prepare and are often caught unaware.

Quakes are not new to Puerto Rico

According to the BBC, the location of Puerto Rico is between the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates. This is a reason for its vulnerability to earthquakes that have struck in the past.

Such disasters have affected lives, destroyed the infrastructure and caused significant damage to homes. Puerto Rico is a US territory with a population of around 3.2 million. It is still trying to recover from the effects of Hurricane Maria that devastated parts of the Caribbean in September 2017. In Puerto Rico, the loss of lives was around 2,975 people and it left behind $100bn of damage.