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Magnitude 7.7 quake strikes Caribbean Sea off coast of Jamaica

By Steve Almasy, Brandon Miller and Alla Eshchenko, CNN

 (CNN) -- A tsunami threat message has been issued by the US National Weather Service's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center after a magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Tuesday near Jamaica.

The weather service said there is a threat of tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meter (about 1 to 3 feet) above tide level for the coasts of Jamaica, Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico and the Cayman Islands.

People in Miami, which is 440 miles from the epicenter, felt shaking.

Miguel Charon was on the 13th floor of a building on Brickell Avenue. He told CNN he felt the walls shake for 30 to 40 seconds. His initial thought was that it must have been caused by a machine of some sort. He said building officials issued an evacuation order and people left the building in a smooth and calm manner.

The earthquake appears to have been a "strike-slip earthquake," in which tectonic plates slide against each other. This limits the threat of a devastating tsunami, which are more associated with "thrust earthquakes," where a portion of the earth is thrust upward and causes the water to push up and outward, creating the tsunami.

The United States Geological Survey said the earthquake had a preliminary depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).

The quake hit 125 kilometers (77.6 miles) north-northwest of Lucea in Jamaica.

The earthquake also was felt as far away as Havana. Some people in the Cuban capital were evacuating taller buildings. Cuba's state media reported the earthquake was felt across the island in Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguín, Las Tunas, Cienfuegos, Pinar del Río, Havana and the Isle of Youth.

There are no initial reports of damage or casualties.

For the latest from USGS:

Earthquake / National Videos


The Associated Press



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