Strong Earthquake Felt in Honduras
Last night, January 9, a strong 7.6 earthquake shook the Caribbean Coast of Honduras. The epicenter was near the Swan Islands of Honduras. These are a group of islands that belong to Honduras and are quite remote. Also known as Islas del Cisne, these islands are over 150 km off the coast of Honduras. There is a small naval base in the swan islands. These are roughly due north of Barra Patuca and Puerto Lempira in the Moskito Coast of Honduras.
Although the quake had a high intensity, there is no report of any damage in mainland Honduras or on the Bay Islands. There was a tsunami warning in effect for the entire Western Caribbean. It included the coast of Belize, the Mexican state of Quintana Roo and even the Greater Antilles. These include the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rica and Jamaica. Some of the inhabitants in the island of Guanaja reported the sea retreated a few feet shortly after the quake. It came back as a small one foot wave, so no tsunami to worry about!
I can confirm that there is no disruption to travel and no damage to hotels or tourism infrastructure in Honduras. This means that if you are in Honduras or planning to visit Honduras you can do so without problems.
The earthquake is on the same fault that produced a 7.3 earthquake in 2009. It is on the border of the Caribbean Plate and the North American Plate. This fault line extends north east of Guatemala and goes through the island of Hispaniola. The Caribbean Coast of Central America is less prone to quakes than the Pacific Coast of Central America.
I must say that the 2009 earthquake was felt as much stronger that the one we had last night. The above is true for the Bay Islands of Honduras and La Ceiba. Fortunately, last nights quake caused no casualties.