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April 16, 1690

(The date of April 6 is from the Julian calendar. This would be April 16 on the Gregorian calendar which we use today.)

At around 5pm on Sunday April 16, 1690, a great earthquake of magnitude 8.0 or higher struck just southeast of the island of Barbuda in the Leeward Islands.

The earthquake severely affected all of the islands of the northeast Caribbean.

Reports indicate that the earth opened 9 feet in many places on St. Kitts, and buried solid timber, sugar mills, etc.

The earthquake which shook Antigua and the Leeward Islands on October 8, 1974 is said to have produced the strongest shaking in several of the Leeward Islands since the great earthquake of February 8, 1843.

The 1974 event had a magnitude of 7.5, making it one of the largest earthquakes of the year, worldwide. Fortunately, the source was several kilometers from the nearest settlement, significantly limiting damage to Antigua, Barbuda and St. Kitts. There were four reported injuries and no fatalities.

According to a USGS release, enough strain may be currently stored in an earthquake zone near the island of Guadeloupe to cause a magnitude 8 or larger earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Caribbean, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

USGS and French researchers studying the plate boundary in the Lesser Antilles region—the area where 20 of the 26 Caribbean islands are located—estimate that enough unreleased strain may have accumulated offshore of Guadeloupe to potentially create a magnitude 8.0-8.4 earthquake. A magnitude 7.5-8.5 quake in 1843 killed several thousand people in Guadeloupe, and a similar quake in the future could cause several tens to several hundreds of fatalities, and hundreds of millions to billions of U.S. dollars in damages. The paper was recently published in the Geophysical Journal International.

A violent earthquake of intensity XI on the Modified Mecalli Intensity (MMI) scale occurred in the morning of November 1, 1755, the All Saints Day Catholic holiday, near the Gorringe Bank off the Iberian Coast near Lisbon, Portugal. The earthquake generated a destructive tsunami that affected the coast of Portugal, Spain, North Africa, and the Caribbean.

A study, and field survey on the island of Guadeloupe, have concluded that the magnitude 6.3 earthquake of November 21, 2004 near Dominica and Guadeloupe generated a weak tsunami with runup not exceeding 0.7 meters or 28 inches.

This event constitutes at least the seventh tsunami documented in the Guadeloupe-Dominica area. The earthquake was remarkably destructive, notably in Terre-de-Bas but some damage was sustained in Dominica and Guadeloupe. While the tsunami amplitudes remained minimal, this earthquake serves to emphasize the constant tsunami risk in the area, notably in view of the numerous landslides triggered by the seismic event.