Puerto Ricans standing on faith amid fear of deadly aftershocks

Wanda Santana (C in wheelchair) prays along members pf her familiay at the refugee camp located at the Mariano Rodríguez Coliseum on January 11, 2020 in Guanica, Puerto Rico. Saturday morning’s quake was the most powerful aftershock following Tuesday’s 6.4 earthquake. | Getty Images/Jose Jimenez

Puerto Ricans have been praying under a massive cloud of uncertainty about the future since suffering yet another 5.9-magnitude tremor after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the island last Tuesday, leaving one person dead and significant damage to buildings.

“A prayer circle in Ponce, Puerto Rico with a rainbow above at a time when earthquakes aftershocks are causing damage & fear – here, there’s a refusal to be mentally defeated, and for many people, a faith fueled belief that things will be better,” CBS This Morning lead correspondent, David Begnaud shared in a tweet from Puerto Rico Sunday amid reports of thousands sleeping outdoors to escape calamity.

The tremor on Saturday was about 8 miles south of Indios in the Caribbean Sea, the US Geological Survey said, at a depth of 6.2 miles.

On Sunday, the USGS also highlighted three likely scenarios that could play out for the earthquake-battered island over the next 30 days, including a 3% chance of “an earthquake significantly larger than the M6.4 that occurred on the 7 January.”

“A much less likely scenario than the previous two scenarios is that recent earthquakes could trigger an earthquake significantly larger than the M6.4 that occurred on the 7 January (i.e., M7.0 and above). While this is a very small probability, if such an earthquake were to occur, it would have serious impacts on communities nearby. This size earthquake would also trigger its own aftershock sequence, so the rate of small and moderate earthquakes would increase again,” the agency stated.

The USGS noted that the most likely scenario they expect to unfold based on the current seismic activity is that aftershocks will continue to decrease in frequency “and will be significantly lower in magnitude than the M6.4 that occurred on the 7 January.”

It was also noted that an earthquake occurring of similar size as the magnitude 6.4 tremor last Tuesday could also occur in an event called a “doublet.” A doublet emerges when two large earthquakes of similar size occur closely in time and location. If this happens, additional damage as well as increased aftershocks is…

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