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In 1 year, 160 earthquakes in the Dominican republic

¡Que susto! Or in other words.. golly gosh what a fright! Last night when the earth suddenly moved under our feet here in Casa de Campo, and in fact the entire eastern region of the Dominican Republic, we were understandably all a little frightened.

Measuring 4.7 on the Richter Scale, the earthquake took place at 10:12pm last night (Thursday September 11th), with its epicenter almost directly north of Casa de Campo, just off the coast near to Laguna Redonda and the town of Miches. This is the largest earthquake to have been felt in the Dominican Republic since the 5.8 earthquake that took place in May, 68km away from La Romana to the East of La Altagracia and to to the Northeast of Isla Saona.

And so with earthquakes (typically small ones) seeming to be a relatively common occurrence here in the Dominican Republic, maybe you’re wondering… whats going on?

Dominican Republic has had:

  • 1 earthquake in the last 24 hours
  • 4 earthquakes in the past 7 days
  • 7 earthquakes in the past month
  • 160 earthquakes in the past year

Doesn’t that seem like a lot?

Not really… it’s normal

Or at least it’s normal for the Dominican Republic, or rather the entire island La Hispaniola, which includes Haiti as well.


Because the island of

is a volcanic island.

Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain, located right here in the Dominican Republic, was once an active volcano that created the island. In very basic terms: it rose out of the sea and brought the island of Hispaniola with it. But don’t worry there are no active volcanoes here now.


The result is that the Dominican Republic has a long history of volcanic and seismic activity. Thanks to two major fault systems or lines that run through the island:

  • The Hispaniola Trench- located just offshore running parallel to the north coast.
  • The Septentrional Fault Zone which runs from the North Hispaniola Trench to the Cibao Valley and Santiago.

The Septentrional Fault Zone is responsible for most of the earthquakes in Dominican Republic’s history.

There is also many other smaller fault lines running through the entire island of La Hispaniola. The map below should give you an idea:

Time to panic?

No of course not! Just like hurricanes, large earthquakes occur very seldom in the Dominican Republic and are not something to be really worried about.

Remember this:

Earthquakes smaller than 6 on the Richter Scale do not typically cause damage. If there is damage it is considered minimal and will only affect poorly constructed buildings. In the history of the Dominican Republic there have been less than 10 earthquakes measuring over 6 on the Richter Scale.

The image below shows the date and location of all large and major earthquakes to have happened in the island of la Hispaniola:

Not too many is it?

Which means that the great majority of earthquakes in the Dominican Republic are teeny tiny, they don’t cause damage, and chances are you won’t even feel them.

For example, of the 27 earthquakes that have taken place in the last 2 months, 89% (24 out of 27) measured less than 4 on the Richter Scale.

In conclusion…

It’s time to stop worrying and go have a beautiful day in paradise!

Source: Casa de Campo Living

Category: DR Living |

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Last updated October 24, 2016 at 6:05 PM
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