A 5.8-magnitude quake hit Puerto Rico before dawn Monday, unleashing small landslides, causing power outages, and severely cracking some homes. The 6:32am quake was one of the strongest yet to hit the US territory, which has been shaking since Dec. 28. The quake was followed by a string of smaller temblors; one that measured at magnitude 5 struck later Monday, at 10:51am, shaking power lines and frightening residents of southern Puerto Rico who had been waiting outside their homes due to fears the buildings were damaged and unstable. Helicopters buzzed overhead as terrified residents jumped up from their folding chairs every time the earth shook, yelling at others to stay away from power lines.
The flurry of quakes in Puerto Rico's southern region began the night of Dec. 28, with quakes ranging in magnitude from 4.7 to 5.1. Previous quakes of lesser magnitudes in recent days have cracked homes and led to goods falling off supermarket shelves. Victor Huerfano, director of Puerto Rico's Seismic Network, told the AP that shallow quakes were occurring along three faults in Puerto Rico’s southwest region: Lajas Valley, Montalva Point, and the Guayanilla Canyon. He said the quakes overall come as the North American plate and the Caribbean plate squeezes Puerto Rico, and that it was unclear when they would stop or if bigger quakes would occur. (Read the full article for stories of some of the people affected: "This is hell," said one.)