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Earthquake Hazards Program

Tectonic Summary

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 at 23:20:13 UTC

Preliminary Earthquake Report
U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center
World Data Center for Seismology, Denver

The location of the earthquake and the character of elastic-waves radiated from the earthquake source are consistent with the shock occurring as left-lateral strike-slip faulting on the east-northeast trending boundary between the North American plate and the Caribbean plate. The Caribbean plate moves eastward with respect to the North American plate at a velocity of about 20 mm/year. At this longitude, the broader plate boundary consists of two parallel branches separated by approximately 125 km. The earthquake occurred on the northern of the branches, which is situated about 30 km south of Grand Cayman and extends eastward offshore of the south coast of Cuba and through northern Hispaniola.


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