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Quantifying 10 years of improved earthquake-monitoring performance in the Caribbean region

Daniel E. McNamara, Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade, Jean-Marie Saurel, Victor Huerfano and Lloyd Lynch
Quantifying 10 years of improved earthquake-monitoring performance in the Caribbean region
Seismological Research Letters (February 2016) 87 (1): 26-36


Over 75 tsunamis have been documented in the Caribbean and adjacent regions during the past 500 years. Since 1500, at least 4484 people are reported to have perished in these killer waves. Hundreds of thousands are currently threatened along the Caribbean coastlines. Were a great tsunamigenic earthquake to occur in the Caribbean region today, the effects would potentially be catastrophic due to an increasingly vulnerable region that has seen significant population increases in the past 40-50 years and currently hosts an estimated 500,000 daily beach visitors from North America and Europe, a majority of whom are not likely aware of tsunami and earthquake hazards. Following the magnitude 9.1 Sumatra-Andaman Islands earthquake of 26 December 2004, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) for the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Early Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (CARIBE-EWS) was established and developed minimum performance standards for the detection and analysis of earthquakes. In this study, we model earthquake-magnitude detection threshold and P-wave detection time and demonstrate that the requirements established by the UNESCO ICG CARIBE-EWS are met with 100% of the network operating. We demonstrate that earthquake-monitoring performance in the Caribbean Sea region has improved significantly in the past decade as the number of real-time seismic stations available to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tsunami warning centers have increased. We also identify weaknesses in the current international network and provide guidance for selecting the optimal distribution of seismic stations contributed from existing real-time broadband national networks in the region.

ISSN: 0895-0695
EISSN: 1938-2057
Serial Title: Seismological Research Letters
Serial Volume: 87
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Quantifying 10 years of improved earthquake-monitoring performance in the Caribbean region
Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, Golden, CO, United States
Pages: 26-36
Published: 201602
Text Language: English
Publisher: Seismological Society of America, El Cerrito, CA, United States
References: 50
Accession Number: 2016-025756
Categories: Environmental geologySeismology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. geol. sketch maps
N07°00'00" - N23°00'00", W90°00'00" - W58°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Puerto Rico at Mayagueez, PRI, Puerto RicoInstitut de Physique du Globe de Paris, FRA, FranceUniversity of the West Indies, TTO, Trinidad and Tobago
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Seismological Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201613
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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