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Seismo-Watch
Earthquake Alert Bulletin No: 97-180

Preliminary data indicates a significant earthquake has occurred:

Regional Location:

Preliminary Magnitude:

Moment Magnitude (Mw):

Greenwich Mean Date:
Greenwich Mean Time:
Latitude:
Longitude:
Focal Depth (km):
Analysis Quality (A-D):

NEAR COAST OF VENEZUELA

4.4 Mb (aftershock)

(n/a)

97/07/09
20:06:14
10.40N
63.50W
10.0 km (Fixed)
A
Notations:

Recent news regarding the [Mw 6.9 (Ms 6.8)] earthquake in eastern Venezuela indicates severe damage has occurred. Here is a report from VHeadline/VENews, the Venezuela electronic News source, unedited. (The magnitude has been corrected with more current and accurate sources)

Caracas: Wednesday, July 9, 1997 -- First reports from the scene of the [Mw 6.9 (Ms 6.8)] earthquake at 3.25 p.m. this afternoon, Wednesday, say the Sucre State capital Cumana (254 miles east of Caracas) is a total disaster area with upwards of forty (40) dead. Scores more have been seriously injured and have been taken to hospital after buildings collapsed in the full force of the 'quake which centered on the village of Cariaco, some 28 miles to the east of Cumana with a reported epicenter force of 6.9 on the Richter scale.

The death toll is expected to rise during the next several hours as rescue workers dig through the rubble and fallen masonry to free many who are still trapped.

The 12-floor Seguros La Seguridad building which normally houses some 70 insurance workers, has collapsed entirely on Avenida Perimetral. Sucre State Governor Ramon Martinez has declared a state of emergency and commercial flights into Cumana's small airport have been suspended. Cumana hospital is being evacuated after it was discovered it was build over a geological fault and is in imminent danger of collapse. [A M4.4 quake, listed above] and three [other] aftershocks were experienced in Caracas and along Venezuela's Caribbean coast as far as Maracaibo to the west.

On the tourist island of Margarita, a worker fell from scaffolding at Porlamar's Santiago Marino airport, a wall has toppled on 60 cars. Telephone and power lines to the paradise island have been cut, leaving residents and thousands of foreign tourists completely in the gathering dark. There's been "substantial material damage" at Porlamar's container terminal and the whole of Venezuela's east coast is cut off from electricity supplies and telephone lines are down. The Margarita ferry has been suspended and authorities are tanking in water supplies from outside the Cumana disaster area.

Reports from Puerto La Cruz and Barcelona say that a number of persons have been injured but no deaths have yet been reported from the immediate area. The village of Cariaco is said to have been completely devastated with six major buildings razed to the ground, including two schools -- 15 dead and 30 injured when the Raimundo Centeno Martinez school collapsed, according to latest reports.

Gerber Rondon at the FUNVISIS seismological institute in Caracas says the earthquake had its epicenter on the Paria Peninsula, east of the Gulf of Cariaco. Venezuelan army and civil defense units are being drafted into the Cumana area along with doctors and medical supplies.

President Rafael Caldera has suspended a speech he was to have given later this evening on the frontier problems with the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC). There are no immediate plans for the President to fly to the disaster area!

 
Subtract 7 hours to obtain PDT or 4 hours for EDT
Location Quality: A (good), B (fair), C (poor), D (bad)
Magnitude: Ml (local or Richter magnitude), Lg (mblg), Md (duration), Mb (body wave), Ms (surface wave), Mw (moment)

Sources Include:
U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center, Golden, CO (NEIC)
Harvard Geophysical Observatory, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (HRV)
International Data Center, Center for Monitoring Research, Arlington, VA (IDC)
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California (Caltech)
various wire reports and/or personal communications

All data are preliminary and subject to change.
Copyright © 1996 Advanced Geologic Exploration
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