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Image of our region with earthquake events

Published 15th November 2012, 5:44pm

Residents in the Cayman Islands who experienced the 6.8 Magnitude earthquake in December 2004, and 5.9 Magnitude quake in January 2010 probably still have fairly good recollections of those events. Fortunately the earthquakes did not result in any significant damage or loss of life, but what about earthquakes in Cayman’s more distant past? Here are two accounts.

In March 1850, the Missionary Notes of the United Church Council records the details of a letter written by of the Rev. James Elmslie, dated 30th October 1849 entitled “Notes from the Grand Caymanas. “On the 30th of August last, we had a very severe shock of an earthquake, which alarmed us all. Very near this place (George Town), the earth opened up in more than 20 places, some of them wide and deep. Even at sea the shock was severely felt. One of the island vessels, when twenty miles from land, received such a shock that the crew thought the vessel was broken to pieces. We have much reason to bless God for sparing our lives, when he might have justly destroyed us.”

Another somewhat alarming account of an earthquake that affected the Cayman Islands in 1843 can be found in the Patriot Newspaper, May 29th 1843 and another reference to the same event is contained in the book ‘Antigua and the Antiguans’ (Volume 2 page 171). “Captain Avery of the Barque Martin W. Brett, arrived this morning (April 15th) from Carthagena, reports that the Grand Cayman, one of the three islands called Caymans, lying between Cuba and Jamaica, was sunk by an earthquake. Captain Avery reports having made the island and being boarded by several boats from the shore. The Grand Cayman is about 8 leagues long and 2 and half broad, and is inhabited mostly by the descendants of the old Buccaneers and by Negro turtle-fishers.”