Puerto Rico Earthquake Sees Playa Ventana Rock Formation in Guayanilla Destroyed by 5.8 Magnitude Quake

Puerto Rico has been hit with another earthquake this morning, the strongest one thus far in a series since December 2019.

The 5.8-magnitude quake struck just south of the island at a relatively shallow depth of six kilometers (km), 13km south southeast of Indios at 6.32 a.m. AST, according to the U.S. Geological Service (USGS). Power outages were reported in some parts of Puerto Rico following the quake, according to the Associated Press, but has been no confirmation of casualties.

Puerto Rico Earthquake
The earthquake happened at 6.32 a.m. ACT, January 6, 2020, and resulted in the collapse of Playa Ventana. Open Street Maps / USGS

However, the tourist attraction, the Playa Ventana Rock Formation, in Guayanilla, has collapsed due to the quake. According to El Nuevo Dia, the tremors caused parts of the rocks to break off of the stone and as a result "The Window Beach" disappeared, as confirmed by Glidden López, press officer of the municipality of Guayanilla. It has also been confirmed that five residences in the Esperanza neighborhood have collapsed, according to the newspaper.

The Playa Ventana is located in the Boca neighborhood of Guanyanilla, between Cerro Toro and Punta Ventana. It is known as "Window Beach" because the middle of the rock is raised above the shoreline, with a hole allowing people to look out at the sea. As a main tourist attraction for the "Fishermans Village", the collapse of Playa Ventana has the potential to hurt the local economy.

On top of everything that's going on, PR has experienced 500+ tremors of varying magnitude since 12/28. The strongest so far was this morning ~ 6 am, magnitude of 5.8, strong enough to knock over a natural formation that gives Playa Ventana its name! https://t.co/qKTGQa2Czz

— Manolito Caldas (@DADDYJOSE) January 6, 2020

There is no tsunami warning issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, however, USGS has warned that the island should be ready for more earthquakes. According to its commentary on the earthquake on its website, Puerto Rico residents need to be aware of the possibility of aftershocks, especially "when in or around vulnerable structures." The forecast also says that there is a five percent chance that one or more of the aftershocks will be larger than a magnitude of 5.8—there has been one magnitude 3 or higher earthquakes in this sequence.

The USGS estimates the chance of more aftershocks, within the next week are as follows,

  • The chance of an earthquake of magnitude 3 or higher is 91 percent and it is most likely that as few as zero or as many as 240 such earthquakes may occur in the case that the sequence is reinvigorated by a larger aftershock
  • The chance of an earthquake of magnitude 5 or higher is 19 percent and it is most likely that as few as zero or as many as three such earthquakes may occur
  • The chance of an earthquake of magnitude 6 or higher is three percent
  • The chance of an earthquake of magnitude 7 or higher is one in 300, such an earthquake is possible but with a low probability

According to NMEAD, residents should do the following after an earthquake:

  • Leave the area when confident there is no more movement
  • Activate the established emergency plan
  • If it is a strong earthquake, where people have not been able to stand and has lasted more than 20 seconds, there is a high probability that a tsunami will occur
  • Be attentive to the instructions given by the authorities
  • Be aware of tsunami alarms
  • Do not touch any power lines on the ground
  • Do not approach areas prone to collapses
  • Get away from the coast and move to the highest possible place
  • Shut off utilities such as gas and water
  • Turn off electric power in the home

More information can be found on the NMEAD website.