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Russian Geology and Geophysics

2010 year, number 11


Mario Octavio Cotilla Rodriguez and Diego Cordoba Barba
Departamento de Fisica de la Tierra, Astronomia y Astrofisica 1,Facultad de CC Fisicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria, s/n 28040 Madrid, Spain
Keywords: Cuba, earthquake, historical seismicity, macroseismic evaluation, seismicity
Pages: 1227-1246


On August 20, 1852, an earthquake caused widespread destruction in the city of Santiago de Cuba and its surroundings. A comprehensive search for contemporary documentation was made. The information gathered was used for a detailed analysis of the damage and characteristics of the earthquakes. Intensities were evaluated at 45 localities, and an isoseismal scheme has been drawn. Maximum intensity reached 8 degrees (MSK), and 6.4 was the estimated magnitude. Damage in the city of Santiago de Cuba has been studied in detail. The low quality of construction contributed to the damage. The total number of casualities was 2 dead and approximately 200 injured. The shock was felt within 80,000 km2. The epicentre was determined as 19.75 N, 75.32 W, h = 30 km. This study shows that contemporary Cuban documents must be studied with care in their historical and cultural background to avoid overrating earthquake intensities.