When one thinks about the Caribbean, there are often visions of a paradise ripe with rum and beaches. The Caribbean, however, is also home to complex slow subduction zones resulting in a geologic hazard often forgotten by wayward tourists. While many tourists to the islands are aware of the threat from hurricanes many are unaware of the threat from earthquakes and tsunamis. In Puerto Rico, oblique subduction of the North American Plate beneath the Caribbean plate generates a highly complex region with zones of strike-slip, thrust, and normal faulting. The last tsunami in Puerto Rico occurred on October 11, 1918 due to a 7.3Mw earthquake with a normal focal mechanism in the Mona Passage, to the northwest of Puerto Rico. Due to this history of destructive earthquakes and tsunamis, monitoring of earthquake activity is vital for the region. The Puerto Rico Seismic Network records thousands of earthquakes annually in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Seismic monitoring in the region faces unique challenges including non-ideal station geometries, facing and recovering from hurricanes like Irma and Maria, and international politics. Here the role of PRSN in seismic monitoring in the Caribbean and how it faces these unique challenges will be discussed.
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