U.S., Cuba cooperate in earthquake tracking

Experts from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) visited scientific and academic centers in the province of Santiago de Cuba on Wednesday (June 11) and exchanged information with their Cuban counterparts, Cuban radio reported.

The American visitors, who will be in Santiago until Friday, toured Oriente University and the National Center for Seismological Research (CENAIS), where they met with its director, Bladimir Moreno Toirán.

Coincidentally, a 3.2-magnitude tremor shook the area as the Americans arrived for their meeting with Moreno. It was located at the coastal city of La Plata in Granma province. There were no reports of injuries or material damage.

CENAIS Director Bladimir Moreno Toirán

The CENAIS, an agency of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, monitors seismic activity on the island. Founded in 1992, it maintains eight quake-detecting stations, from Soroa in the west to Manicaragua in the center to Maisí in the east.

Six of them are in the Oriente region, in the cities of Cascorro, Holguín, Moa, Las Mercedes, Río Carpintero and Maisí.

The USGS has more than 150 stations worldwide, nine of them in the Caribbean. It provides information to the public via the Internet, e-mail and the social networks.

The Americans also toured Cuba’s National Seismological Service. On Thursday, they were to visit the Baconao Park on the southeastern end of Cuba, where most earthquakes are felt.

About 70 percent of the seismic activity in Cuba emanates from the Oriente fault line, which marks the tectonic boundary between the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate.

So far this year, two medium-intensity earthquakes have been recorded in Cuba. The first was a 5.0-magnitude quake on Jan. 9. It struck in the Straits of Florida, about 107 miles northeast of Havana, and was felt as far north as Orlando, Fla.

The second was a 4.7-magnitude tremor on March 9, about 30 miles northeast of Cárdenas, Matanzas province, that was felt in the Lower Florida Keys. Seismologists in the U.S. said that it was an aftershock of the January quake.

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