Earthquake In Jamaica| April 15, 2023| Field Geology Observations

Source: The Earthquake Unit of Jamaica; April 15, 2023

Direct Significance/Relevance of This Report

Industry: Construction, Tourism (tours, adventures, villas…), Agriculture.

Community Capacity Research & Implementation-Education, Policy, Finance, Management


The Earthquake Unit of Jamaica (project collaboration), Mines & Geology Jamaica (base map reference), St. Thomas (Jamaica) Residents-participation, My Family (support).

Background & Methodology (Brief)

On April 15, 2023, at approximately 4:35 pm., a preliminary magnitude 5.2 earthquake shook & was felt across most parishes of Jamaica. The Earthquake Unit|| Retrieved on April 17, 2023

With this being the 1st moderate earthquake (according to Richter scale, at this magnitude) with an epicenter in Jamaica (mainland) since 1993, this was a 1 in 30 years opportunity to go into the field to conduct geologic observations & capture feedback (through questionnaires which were administered by The Earthquake Unit of Jamaica personnel), from participating community residents of St. Thomas. Observations & Questionnaire administration took place on April 16, 2023. Participants of the administered questionnaire were located/resided in Yallahs, Albion, Llandeway, Windsor Forest & Bethel Gap.

General Findings

  1. There were observed freshly displaced rocks (cobble-boulder sized) as a result of ‘landslippage’ adjacent to, and in the middle of the main thoroughfare (Llandeway-Ramble Road).
  2. The bedrock throughout the observed areas are highly jointed & weathered.
  3. Access to communities located near the Llandeway-Bethel Gap thoroughfare are dependent on bridges-that appear in need of attention.
  4. Residents located in the Bethel Gap square, expressed observing cracks in the walls of their home as well as the falling of cans & bottles, relative to residents in Yallahs who did not express observing any cracks in the walls of their home, nor the falling of  cans & bottles.
  5. The residents of Bethel Gap expressed feeling 2 tremors of similar strength seconds apart-watch & listen to the video in section below.
  6. Much of the landforms present are highly spaced apart (indicating high tectonic activity)


Pictures & Video




Discussion & Recommendation

With the epicenter of this moderate (Richter scale) earthquake being located predominantly in the Plantain Garden Fault Zone; and with the expected infrastructural development to come with the completion of the ongoing highway project, significant resources is needed to bolster the capacity of the residents living in this section and potentially across St. Thomas to cope with the geohazards of landslides, flooding, and earthquakes to name a few. An earthquake of this magnitude ruptured in this fault zone, indicate that it is capable of producing a magnitude 6 & above. And with Jamaica being grossly overdue for this magnitude earthquake, in addition to many St.Thomas residents still living on marginalized lands with bedrock that’s highly  jointed, deformed and susceptible to failure (landslippage); blocked roads, collapsed roads, fallen bridges, damaged homes & agricultural fields are a likely common occurrence in the event of a magnitude 6+ earthquake; and during, or in the aftermath of annual rainy seasons.


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About The Author

Oshane Bryant: BSc Geology, Geography Minor; ACE CPT since 2012; Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Accelerator Graduate-2018 cohort; Licensed KUKIBO Martial Arts & Self Defense, Senior Instructor; OB Fitness Founder & Managing Director.

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