4 seismometers installed to monitor earthquake activities in Region 9

…116 buildings damaged from January’s quake

Four seismometer stations have been installed to consistently monitor ground movements in the Deep South area of the Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), following a devastating 5.9 magnitude earthquake in January.
Since that earthquake struck, the University of Sao Paulo Seismic Center has been working with the local Civil Defence Commission (CDC), the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and the Public Works Ministry to assess the situation and record data of the current activities.
The earthquake – with a shallow depth of 10 kilometres and an epicentre near Boa Vista in the Brazilian State of Roraima, which borders Lethem – mainly affected the communities such as Katoonarib and Sawariwaru.

Damages that were caused to the adobe structures as a result of the earthquake

During a briefing on Thursday, it was highlighted that seismometers were installed at high points to collect data since March 5, 2021. The devices are recording earthquakes of smaller magnitudes that are manifesting every day.
According to Daniella Assing of the Geological Services Division of the GGMC, there were difficulties in locating elevated points to install the seismometers. Nevertheless, officials will be sent to collect data over the coming week, and a fifth station is expected to be installed shortly.
The aim is to record and study the aftershock, since it will occur along the same rupture; interpret ground cracks, and identify secondary ruptures.
Professor Marcelo Sousa de Assumpcao noted that earthquakes are extremely rare in Guyana, given its tectonic location, and he is certain that none will occur in the near future. Moreover, the permanent displacement will not gravely impact close surroundings.
Meanwhile, Head of Inspectorate at the Public Works Ministry, Heidi Gillette, outlined that adobe buildings made primarily from clay bricks suffered severe damages when compared to wooden and concrete structures. In most cases, the walls completely collapsed. Some 47 structures were damaged in Sawariwaru and another 119 in Katoonarib.
Days after the earthquake hit, residents of Katoonarib had said they continued to hear “rumbling sounds”. The South Rupununi District Council (SRDC) had explained that “residents living around the area had not been able to sleep well at nights since the tremor, and reports were also made about cracks on the ground that were slowly widening.
Based on assessments conducted to determine the extent of the damage from the earthquake, it was concluded that Region Nine – which shares a border with Brazil – was the hardest-hit location in Guyana.