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New seafloor map of the Puerto Rico Trench helps assess earthquake and tsunami hazards

August 25, 2004

The Puerto Rico Trench, the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean, is located where the North American (NOAM) plate is subducting under the Caribbean plate (Figure l). The trench region may pose significant seismic and tsunami hazards to Puerto Rico and the U.S.Virgin Islands, where 4 million U.S. citizens reside. Widespread damage in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola from an earthquake in 1787 was estimated to be the result of a magnitude 8 earthquake north of the islands [McCann et al., 2004]. A tsunami killed 40 people in NW Puerto Rico following a magnitude 7.3 earthquake in 1918 [Mercado and McCann, 1998]. Large landslide escarpments have been mapped on the seafloor north of Puerto Rico [Mercado et al., 2002; Schwab et al., 1991],although their ages are unknown.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2004
Title New seafloor map of the Puerto Rico Trench helps assess earthquake and tsunami hazards
DOI 10.1029/2004EO370001
Authors Uri S. ten Brink, William Danforth, Christopher Polloni, Brian D. Andrews, Pilar Llanes Estrada, Shepard Smith, Eugene Parker, Toshihiko Uozumi
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union
Index ID 70121930
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coastal and Marine Geology Program, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center