The number may seem very high, but 5,000 to 6,000 earthquakes of various magnitudes occur in Cuba each year, most of them in the southeastern region linked to the Orient fault.
According to the historical seismic record of our country (encompassing the 16th to the 20th century), the number of perceivable elements during that period was about 2000, including 28 forts, of which 20 affected the city of Santiago de Cuba.
Geosciences physician Enrique Diego Aranjo Arias, head of the National Seismological Service and Deputy Technical Director of the National Center for Seismological Research (Cenais), confirmed to Granma that among them were those that occurred on August 20, 1852, whose value was estimated at 7.3 on the Richter scale (it measures energy Emitted by the earthquake) and the intensity of IX on the msk scale (takes as reference the devastating effects observed in buildings, the change in the appearance of the ground and the damage to the population).
Sooner, there is the observed earthquake of February 3, 1932, in the city of Santiago itself, which completely or partially destroyed 80% of the buildings, in addition to causing about 300 wounded and wounded and about 20 dead.
According to Science Doctor Enrique Aranjo, since the start of the automated recording, the most intense event measured in the National Seismological Service’s coverage area on January 28, 2020, 130 kilometers southwest of Cabo Cruz, has been the 7.8-magnitude Granma. Cenais’ deputy technical director said it was being felt across the country, although in the municipalities of Bellon, Nicero, Campichuela and Media Luna, the maximum intensity measured had reached six on a scale now called ems-98. Earthquakes of various magnitudes have also been reported in the west and center of the country.
Cenais was established in 1992, and its mission is to ensure that seismic activity in the Republic of Cuba is monitored and analyzed as an early warning system for earthquakes and tsunamis, and that this information is provided to the country’s decision-making bodies.
Within this general objective, it is assumed, in the same way, to develop a program for visualizing and accessing seismic information, through its website www.cenais.cu, to analyze space, time and energy for earthquakes. And monitor sudden changes in sea level, which could indicate a tsunami warning.
Dr Aranjo Arias, when consulted on this topic, stated that the National Seismic Service of Cuba (SSNC) is the technological support, along with its human resources, for earthquake and tsunami warning systems in the Greater Antilles, in accordance with Directive No. 1 From the Chairman of the National Defense Council for Disaster Reduction.
The specialist noted that when Cenais was created, the country already had a network of seismic stations in several provinces, which had Russian analog seismometers and a paper record.
“The first renewal of our service began in 1998, when the People’s Republic of China received new digital seismometers, the installation of which allowed the replacement of old equipment.”
Twelve years later, in 2010, we received a second donation from the Asian country, consisting mainly of more advanced tools of this kind, a fact that marked the beginning of the real-time transmission of the data collected by the various seismic stations to the researcher said that the central station located In Santiago de Cuba.
“At present, SSNC has 19 seismic stations, many of which are the result of international cooperation with Canada, and the proven modern technology enables every record of the National Civil Defense General Staff to be viewed.”
He said that during the year 2020, new Russian technological stations were put into operation, acquired by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (SITA), in order to complete the network of stations in the western central region of the country.
The override step in strengthening the National Security Committee, as of 2017, is to implement a network of speedometers in the cities of Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo, to determine the acceleration of the terrain at the exact moment of a moderate or strong earthquake.
As explained by Dr. Aranjo Arias, so far 15 teams have been installed in Santiago and one at Guantanamo. Likewise, the cities of Caimanera, Bellon, Varadero and Marielle, as well as Moa, Las Mercedes, Rio Carpentero and Messi have accelerometers.
The importance of this technique lies in the fact that if a strong earthquake occurs, we can obtain the values of the Earth’s acceleration at different points in the city. This information will allow us to obtain basic knowledge of future urban planning procedures, in addition to enhancing studies on how to mitigate seismic waves everywhere and thus knowledge of soil response, which is a very important issue in construction.
Also in the Cenais technological arsenal there is a permanent station of the Global Navigation Satellite System, which allows to calculate the absolute motion of the North American plate to which Cuba belongs.
Likewise, from 2018, as part of an international project in cooperation with French and Cuban institutions, the specialists of the center began to make measurements at various points of the eastern region, in order to determine the dynamics. From the lithosphere in that region of the North American Plate, assessing whether it registers significant deformation with respect to plate boundaries, an early indication of the likelihood of a moderate or strong earthquake.
This data is of vital importance to the Life Task, as it is possible to find out which masses in the study area show a tendency to sink and which are rising in relation to sea level, as emphasized by Dr. Arango Arias.
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