The US Geological Survey says a powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica on Tuesday, the AP reports. It was centered 86 miles northwest of Montego Bay, Jamaica, and 87 miles west-southwest of Niquero, Cuba. It hit at 2:10pm EST and the epicenter was a relatively shallow 6 miles beneath the surface. The quake could be felt strongly in Santiago, the largest far-eastern Cuban city, and people evacuated buildings in Miami as the ground shook, the Miami Herald reports. There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries, but CNN reports a tsunami threat was issued for coastal areas in Belize, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica, and Mexico; it was lifted a few hours later, after a tsunami of 0.4 feet was recorded in the Cayman Islands at George Town.
"We were all sitting and we felt the chairs move," said Belkis Guerrero, who works in a Catholic cultural center in the center of Santiago. "We heard the noise of everything moving around." She said there was no apparent damage in the heart of the colonial city. "It felt very strong but it doesn't look like anything happened,'' she added. The quake also hit the Cayman Islands, leaving cracked roads and what appeared to be sewage spilling from cracked mains. There were no immediate reports of deaths, injuries, or more severe damage, said Kevin Morales, editor-in-chief of the Cayman Compass newspaper. The islands see so few earthquakes that newsroom staff were puzzled when it hit, he said.
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