A glimpse at the historical seismology of the West Indies

J. Vogt


This contribution describes the state-of-the-art of historical seismology in the West Indies. An overview of the current parametric earthquake catalogues shows that historical earthquakes in the Greater and Lesser Antilles are less well known compared to those which affected the Venezuelan and Central American regions. Problems are still numerous and hard to solve for most former earthquakes, known from the mid 16th century on. The analysis
of the catalogues shows that they are incomplete, and that their reliability also should be reconsidered. In recent years, the author has investigated locally stored primary historical sources as well as those in foreign archives and libraries, for instance in France and the United States. The paper deals with some case histories, the 1692, 1751, 1767, 1770, 1830, 1842, 1852, 1860, 1887, 1892 earthquakes in the Greater Antilles, the 1690, 1727, 1839, 1843, 1867 and 1897 in the Lesser Antilles. The examples highlight that there is still a need for further improving our knowledge on the historical seismicity of the West Indies, and that the investigation of the sources and repositories located outside this region is an open way to fruitfully approach this task.


historical seismology

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3313
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X