A strong earthquake struck the Cayman Islands on Tuesday — the strongest since 1900 — rattling windows and sending residents fleeing into the streets. No serious damage or injuries were reported.
The epicenter of the magnitude-6.7 earthquake was 20 miles south-southeast of Georgetown, said Kathleen Gohn, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Geological Survey based in Golden, Colo.
The initial quake lasted about 10 seconds, and small shock waves were felt for more than 30 minutes, residents said.
“I got out of my house as fast as I could. I thought a plane was coming at us,” said Maxine Drake of Halifax, Nova Scotia, who lives part time in Grand Cayman.
It was the strongest tremor to hit the Cayman Islands since 1900, Gohn said. It also was one of several to strike the region in the last month.
Gohn said the tremors were unrelated, but activity in the Caribbean has been high.
A tremor with a magnitude of 5.7 jolted the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Saturday. No injuries were reported, and there was little damage.
Another earthquake, with a magnitude of 5.4, however, caused at least 90 aftershocks Dec. 3 in Trinidad, killing at least one woman and damaging several buildings and houses.
Last month, a magnitude-6.3 earthquake on the Caribbean island of Dominica caused an estimated $20 million in damages.
The Cayman Islands has been plagued with disaster this year, recently estimating hurricane damage caused by Hurricane Ivan at more than $3 billion.
The storm tore through the wealthy British territory in September, destroying 70 percent of buildings and damaging many hotels. Many residents were forced to move to Grand Cayman’s sister islands — Little Cayman and Cayman Brac — which sustained little damage.