Puerto Rico was once again struck by a powerful earthquake Saturday morning. The earthquake was cataloged as a 6.0 magnitude quake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The new quake happened at 7:54 a.m. Saturday and affected over ten countries.
Puerto Rico has been experiencing earthquakes since the beginning of the new year, and you, like many others, may be wondering why.
According to News 6 meteorologist Candace Campos, the reason for the recent series of quakes all boils down to the science behind earthquakes and where Puerto Rico is located.
Puerto Rico is located along active tectonic plates, which are like giant puzzle pieces that make up the earth’s crust. These plates are constantly moving and shifting, and are the reason behind large geological features across the globe, like mountain ranges and island chains, Campos said.
Puerto Rico sits along the border of the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates that slide against each other. The Caribbean Plate moves to the east while the North American Plate moves west.
Along with that interaction, there is also the Puerto Rico Trench, which is caused by the North American Plate sinking underneath the Caribbean Plate. According to Campos, that additional fault zone creates more potential for earthquakes.
As the plates slide against and under each other, they build up energy and stress until one side of the fault snaps under the pressure.
That initial snap tends to initially trigger a strong earthquake, followed by weaker aftershocks in the days after.
Unlike hurricanes, scientists cannot predict earthquakes. According to the United States Geological Survey, scientists can only calculate the probability that a significant earthquake will occur in a specific area within a certain number of years. There is not enough scientific evidence to narrow predictions down any further.