HAVANA — The U.S. Geological Survey says a powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica on Tuesday.
- Reports in South Florida of residents feeling earthquake
- No immediate reports of damage or injuries
- LINK: USGS Map
- LINK: Tsunami message from NOAA
- Weather Blog: Caribbean Growing More Vulnerable For Tsunamis
A 6.5 earthquake later occurred by the Cayman Islands, about 120 miles from the initial earthquake.
The 7.7 quake was centered 139 kilometers (86 miles) northwest of Montego Bay, Jamaica, and 140 kilometers (87 miles) west-southwest of Niquero, Cuba. It hit at 2:10 p.m. (1910 GMT) and the epicenter was a relatively shallow 10 kilometers (6 miles) beneath the surface.
A tsunami threat was issued for Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, Cayman Islands and Jamaica. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
There were several reports in South Florida of residents feeling the quake, including some in Tampa Bay, and as far north as Tallahassee.
Spectrum Bay News 9 Chief Meteorologist Mike Clay said he was sitting in the weather center at 2:10 p.m. when he felt a slight movement. Reports of the earthquake then started to come into the newsroom.
In Miami, structural engineers responded to buildings that reported seismic activity.
The quake could be felt strongly in Santiago, the largest far-eastern Cuban city, said Belkis Guerrero, who works in a Catholic cultural center in the center of Santiago.
“We were all sitting and we felt the chairs move,” she said. “We heard the noise of everything moving around.”
She said there was no apparent damage in the heart of the colonial city.
"It felt very strong but it doesn't look like anything happened,'' she told The Associated Press.
An aftershock hit the Cayman Islands, leaving cracked roads and what appeared to be sewage spilling from cracked mains. There were no immediate reports of deaths, injuries or more severe damage, said Kevin Morales, editor-in-chief of the Cayman Compass newspaper.
The islands see so few earthquakes that newsroom staff were puzzled when it hit, he said.
″‘It was just like a big dump truck was rolling past,”’ Morales said. “Then it continued and got more intense.”
The USGS initially reported the magnitude at 7.3.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.