Still recovering from the effects of 2017’s Hurricane Maria, on December 28, 2019 – starting with a 4.7 earthquake – a devastating swarm unleashed upon Puerto Rico. Eleven of the total 2,000 quakes were more significant than the magnitude 5. The first with such high magnitude occurred in the early hours of December 29. A following one of 5.8 magnitudes destroyed Punta Ventana in Guayanilla.
The apex was on January 7, with a jolt of 6.4 magnitudes, and a very strong felt intensity. A man in the city of Ponce lost his life, and many were injured. The governor declared a state of emergency.
Four days later, an aftershock followed, with a magnitude of 5.9, destroying buildings in the city of Ponce.
By January 14, more than 8,000 people were homeless, and three people had died as effects of the earthquakes. $3.1 billion financial losses were reported.
NASA Mapped The Geological Changes Provoked By The Latest Puerto Rico Earthquake
The damage in all of the unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast Caribbean Sea called Puerto Rico is far from being complete. NASA is currently helping to complete the image by mapping Puerto Rico with the help of its satellites. Also, the European Space Agency used the Copernicus Sentinel-1A satellite.
The most significant and troubling observation is that on the west of the city of Ponce, a displacement from the flyover area happened: the ground in the area changed up to 14 centimeters. The flyover area refers to the interior regions of a country passed over during transcontinental flights.
“The ground appeared to shift downward and slightly to the west,” NASA officials wrote in a statement. The most significant displacement was identified west of the city of Ponce and close to the epicenter. As a response to the earthquake swarm, the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program has activated a “Tier 1”.