1843 Guadeloupe earthquake

The 1843 Guadeloupe earthquake occurred at 10:37 local time on 8 February in the island of Guadeloupe in the Lesser Antilles.[3] It had an estimated magnitude (scale unspecified) of 8.5, making it the strongest recorded earthquake in the Caribbean and a maximum perceived intensity of shaking of IX on the Mercalli intensity scale.[2] The earthquake was felt widely throughout the Caribbean and as far away as New York.[3] Around 1,500 to 5,000 people were killed.[2][1]

1843 Guadeloupe earthquake
1843 Guadeloupe earthquake is located in Middle America
1843 Guadeloupe earthquake
Local date 8 February 1843
Local time10:37 AM
Magnitude8.5 (est.)[2]
Epicenter16°30′N 62°12′W / 16.5°N 62.2°WCoordinates: 16°30′N 62°12′W / 16.5°N 62.2°W[1]

Tectonic setting

The Lesser Antilles are an island arc formed above the destructive plate boundary where the North American Plate is being subducted beneath the Caribbean Plate at a rate of about 2 cm per year. Historical earthquakes in this region include large megathrust earthquakes on the plate interface, such as those in 1839 and 1843, and smaller intraplate earthquakes within the arc itself, associated with oblique convergence on the plate boundary.[2]


The magnitude of the earthquake was calculated in the range 7.5–8.0 by Bernard & Lambert in 1988. This was reassessed in 2011 by Feuillet and others, giving an 8.5 magnitude.[2] Later work by Hough in 2013, taking account of reports of the earthquake from the US, supported a magnitude of at least 8.5 for this event.[3]


On Guadeloupe, Pointe-à-Pitre suffered severe damage with a maximum of 8–900 houses being destroyed of the 1,222 that existed before the earthquake.[4] The earthquake was quickly followed by fires that caused further destruction.[5]

The island of Antigua was also badly affected, with all churches and mills throughout the island reported destroyed. Forty deaths were reported. Damage was also reported from Montserrat, with six casualties.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b National Centers for Environmental Information. "Significant Earthquake". The Significant Earthquake Database.
  2. ^ a b c d e Feuillet N.; Beauducel F.; Tapponnier P. (2011). "Tectonic context of moderate to large historical earthquakes in the Lesser Antilles and mechanical coupling with volcanoes". Journal of Geophysical Research. 116 (B10): B10308. Bibcode:2011JGRB..11610308F. doi:10.1029/2011JB008443.
  3. ^ a b c Hough S.E. (2013). "Missing great earthquakes". Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. 118 (3): 1098–1108. Bibcode:2013JGRB..118.1098H. doi:10.1002/jgrb.50083.
  4. ^ Deville, Charles (1843). Tremblement de terre à la Guadeloupe le 8 février 1843 (in French). Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe (published July 1843). p. 52.
  5. ^ a b Various (1843). The Nautical Magazine and Naval Chronicle for 1843. pp. 277–279. ISBN 978-1-108-05435-5.
La Soufrière

La Soufrière may refer to:

La Soufrière (volcano), a volcano on the island of Saint Vincent in the Caribbean

La Soufrière (film), a 1977 film by Werner Herzog

20th century
21st century

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