Magnitude 5.2 earthquake rocks Puerto Rico

More than 1,280 earthquakes have hit Puerto Rico since Dec. 28

A car is crushed under a home that collapsed after the previous day's magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Yauco, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. More than 250,000 Puerto Ricans remained without water on Wednesday and another half a million without power, which also affected telecommunications. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

GUANICA, PUERTO RICO – Another earthquake has hit the island of Puerto Rico, registering magnitude 5.2 on Wednesday.

Scientists at the United States Geologic Survey placed the center of the earthquake west-southwest of the town of Guanica.

More than 1,280 earthquakes have hit Puerto Rico’s southern region since Dec. 28, more than two dozen of them magnitude 4.5 or greater, according to the USGS. Among them was a 6.4 magnitude quake that hit on Jan. 7, killing one person and injuring nine others, and a 5.9 magnitude aftershock that occurred Saturday, causing further damage. Government officials say the quakes have caused a preliminary $110 million in damage, toppled part of a famed rock formation landmark and damaged or destroyed more than 550 homes.

The seismic activity that experts say is unusual but not unexpected has unleashed scientific debate about what’s causing it and drawn international attention to the area, where more than 4,000 people have sought shelter as they wonder when the ground will stop trembling.

Scientists say they don’t yet know much about the faults causing the quakes, although some experts believe at least three faults are involved, including the Punta Montalva one in southwest Puerto Rico that students and professors at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez discovered in the early 2000s.