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Wednesday, April 26 2017 @ 07:54 AM AST

Earthquake rocks Trinidad and Tobago, part of Venezuela

A short earthquake just rocked the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, and part of Venezuela. About 10:13 pm, an earthquake lasting no more than 3 seconds rocked the Caribbean islands. The magnitude was 6.1 on the Richter scale and the epicentre of the earthquake was 33 kilometers North of Guiria, Venezuela.

According to radio reports, there have been no injuries or damages. The quake was reportedly felt strongest in Chaguanas, a town with a population close to 100,000 on the island of Trinidad. Calling in to her favourite radio station, a woman from Chaguanas said: "I was sitting down watchin' my parrot. All of a sudden, I realise' my parrot fall off his stick. Then I realise is ah earthquake."

As a free service to the world, the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) Earthquake Hazards Program would normally provide the magnitude within seconds, but thanks to the Republican government shutdown, the data was initially unavailable.

The USGS website had this message on it: "Government Furlough: Due to a lapse in Federal funding, the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program has suspended most of its operations. While the USGS will continue to monitor and report on earthquake activity, the accuracy or timeliness of some earthquake information products, as well as the availability or functionality of some web pages, could be affected by our reduced level of operation."

The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre website was also down (independently of the US government shutdown).

Earthquakes are also classified in categories ranging from minor to great, depending on their magnitude.

CLASS MAGNITUDE

Great 8 or more

Major 7 - 7.9

Strong 6 - 6.9

Moderate 5 - 5.9

Light 4 - 4.9

Minor 3 -3.9

DATA AND PHOTO SOURCE: USGS

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