Written by on . Last updated February 20th, 2024.

A shallow and significant Magnitude 5.3 earthquake struck in the North Atlantic Ocean 164 kilometer from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in the afternoon of Friday December 22nd, 2023. Shaking may have been felt by a total of 8 million people. Puerto Rico is also near its epicenter.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the North Atlantic Ocean, 46 kilometers (29 mi) off the coast of Dominican Republic, 164 kilometer north-east of Santo Domingo in Nacional. The center of this earthquake had a very shallow depth of 10 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Dec 22, 2023 02:30PM (Santo Domingo Time)
- Dec 22, 2023 18:30 Universal Time.
Location: 164 km NE of Santo Domingo, Nacional, Dominican Republic.
Coordinates 19°32'20"N 68°49'17"W.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.3
Detected by 20 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.086 .
Depth: 10 km (6 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
IV
Light

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Low tsunami risk
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 do not usually cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Minimal impact predicted

Based on scientific estimates by the US Geographic Survey (USGS), the risk of high fatalities for this earthquake is classified at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 fatalities, and a 96% chance that the number of fatalities falls no higher than 10.

The USGS classifies the economic impact of this earthquake at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 million US Dollars in economic damage and impact, and a 96% chance that the economic impact of this earthquake falls no higher than 10 million USD.

Roughly 8 million people exposed to shaking

The USGS has published a report estimating the number of people exposed to this earthquake. Acoording to their analysis, roughly 8 million have been exposed to shaking at an MMI level of II or higher.

An estimated 32,460 people were exposed to level IV. At this level, light shaking and likely no damage can be expected. The majority of people (roughly 7.3 million) live in an area exposed to level III, where weak shaking and probably no damage is expected.

People in 2 countries have been exposed to shaking. In Dominican Republic , around 8 million people, with impact levels up to IV (light shaking, likely no damage). In Puerto Rico , around 690 thousand people.

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
1,163,000
II
Very weak None
7,300,000
III
Weak Probably none
32,460
IV
Light Likely none
0
V
Moderate Very light
0
VI
Strong Light
0
VII
Very Strong Moderate
0
VIII
Severe Moderate to heavy
0
IX
Violent Heavy
0
X
Extreme Very heavy

Nearby towns and cities

Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are both located within 300km distance of the epicenter of the earthquake.

Santa Cruz de El Seibo in El Seíbo, Dominican Republic is the nearest significant place from the epicenter. The earthquake occurred 89 kilometer (55 mi) north-northeast of Santa Cruz de El Seibo. The intensity of shaking and damage in Santa Cruz de El Seibo is estimated to be around level III on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (weak shaking, probably no damage).

Multiple large cities are in proximity of today's earthquake. Santo Domingo is located 164 km to the southwest and experienced an intensity of III (weak shaking, probably no damage). Santiago de los Caballeros is located 197 km to the west (intensity unknown, possibly low). Santo Domingo Este is located 160 km to the southwest and experienced an intensity of III (weak shaking, probably no damage).

The table below provides an overview of all places in proximity of today's earthquake. Where available, the estimated intensity on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale in each place is included. Places where this information is omitted likely experienced little impact.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
89 km (55 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Santa Cruz de El Seibo

El Seíbo, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
98 km (61 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Hato Mayor del Rey

Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
103 km (64 mi)
S from epicenter
Salvaleón de Higüey

La Altagracia, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
109 km (68 mi)
W from epicenter
Nagua

María Trinidad Sánchez, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
115 km (71 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Punta Cana

La Altagracia, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
122 km (76 mi)
SW from epicenter
Bayaguana

Monte Plata, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
122 km (76 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Sabana Grande de Boyá

Monte Plata, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
125 km (78 mi)
S from epicenter
La Romana

La Romana, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
126 km (78 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Quisqueya

San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
130 km (81 mi)
SW from epicenter
Monte Plata

Monte Plata, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
131 km (81 mi)
SSW from epicenter
San Pedro de Macorís

San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
146 km (91 mi)
SW from epicenter
Boca Chica

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
149 km (93 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Cotuí

Sánchez Ramírez, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
152 km (94 mi)
W from epicenter
San Francisco de Macorís

Duarte, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
160 km (99 mi)
SW from epicenter
Santo Domingo Este

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
162 km (101 mi)
SW from epicenter
Villa Francisca

Nacional, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
163 km (101 mi)
SW from epicenter
Villa Consuelo

Nacional, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
164 km (102 mi)
SW from epicenter
Ciudad Nueva

Nacional, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
164 km (102 mi)
SW from epicenter
Santo Domingo

Nacional, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
168 km (104 mi)
W from epicenter
Salcedo

Hermanas Mirabal, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
169 km (105 mi)
SW from epicenter
Bella Vista

Nacional, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
169 km (105 mi)
SW from epicenter
Santo Domingo Oeste

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
171 km (106 mi)
SW from epicenter
Villa Altagracia

San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
178 km (111 mi)
SW from epicenter
Bajos de Haina

San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
179 km (111 mi)
W from epicenter
Moca

Espaillat, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
180 km (112 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Bonao

Monseñor Nouel, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
183 km (114 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Concepción de La Vega

La Vega, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
183 km (114 mi)
SW from epicenter
San Cristóbal

San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic.
III
Weak
187 km (116 mi)
W from epicenter
Monte Llano

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
188 km (117 mi)
W from epicenter
Tamboril

Santiago, Dominican Republic.
196 km (122 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Jarabacoa

La Vega, Dominican Republic.
197 km (122 mi)
W from epicenter
Santiago de los Caballeros

Santiago, Dominican Republic.
198 km (123 mi)
W from epicenter
Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
204 km (127 mi)
W from epicenter
Río Grande

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
209 km (130 mi)
WSW from epicenter
San José de Ocoa

San José de Ocoa, Dominican Republic.
II
Weak
212 km (132 mi)
SW from epicenter
Baní

Peravia, Dominican Republic.
II
Weak
214 km (133 mi)
SE from epicenter
Aguadilla

Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
II
Weak
214 km (133 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Constanza

La Vega, Dominican Republic.
215 km (134 mi)
W from epicenter
Villa Bisonó

Santiago, Dominican Republic.
227 km (141 mi)
W from epicenter
Esperanza

Valverde, Dominican Republic.
231 km (144 mi)
SE from epicenter
Mayagüez

Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
II
Weak
235 km (146 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Azua

Azua, Dominican Republic.
236 km (147 mi)
W from epicenter
Mao

Valverde, Dominican Republic.
251 km (156 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Arecibo

Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
264 km (164 mi)
W from epicenter
Sabaneta

Santiago Rodríguez, Dominican Republic.
266 km (165 mi)
WSW from epicenter
San Juan de la Maguana

San Juan, Dominican Republic.
267 km (166 mi)
SE from epicenter
Yauco

Yauco, Puerto Rico.
II
Weak
269 km (167 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Barceloneta

Barceloneta, Puerto Rico.
274 km (170 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Manatí

Manatí, Puerto Rico.
282 km (175 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Santa Cruz de Barahona

Barahona, Dominican Republic.
283 km (176 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Vega Baja

Vega Baja, Puerto Rico.
287 km (178 mi)
SE from epicenter
Ponce

Ponce, Puerto Rico.
293 km (182 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Las Matas de Farfán

San Juan, Dominican Republic.
297 km (185 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Neiba

Baoruco, Dominican Republic.
298 km (185 mi)
W from epicenter
San Fernando de Monte Cristi

Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The intensity in shaking and damage by this earthquake is illustrated through the map below. The highest intensity measured for this earthquake is IV.

I Not felt
II Weak
III Weak
IV Light
V Moderate
VI Strong
VII Very Strong
VIII Severe
IX Violent
X Extreme
Earthquake Intensity Map based on Shakemap Data provided by USGS.

Shaking reported by 48 people

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 48 people have reported shaking in 14 places, all within Dominican Republic.We keep updating this article as more ground reports become available. You may report that you felt this earthquake here.

Places with most reports:

  • Otra Banda, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic: 19 people.
  • Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: 8 people.
  • El Carril, San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic: 4 people.
  • Boca de Yuma, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic: 3 people.
  • Santiago, Santiago, Dominican Republic: 3 people.
  • Higüey, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic: 2 people.
  • Samaná, Samaná, Dominican Republic: 2 people.
  • Miches, El Seibo, Dominican Republic: 1 person.
  • Hato Mayor, Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic: 1 person.
  • Baní, Peravia, Dominican Republic: 1 person.

15 Aftershocks detected

This main shock was followed by 15 smaller aftershocks. Just 1 day after this main shock, an earthquake measuring MAG-4 was detected 27 km (17 mi) east-southeast of this earthquake.

Before this earthquake struck, 1 smaller foreshock occurred. A 3.4 magnitude earthquake hit 14 hrs earlier nearby.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 3.4 14 hrs earlier
Dec 22, 2023 12:52AM (Santo Domingo Time)
86 km (54 mi)
SE from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.3 Dec 22, 2023 02:30PM
(Santo Domingo Time)
-
Aftershock M 3.7 7 mins later
Dec 22, 2023 02:36PM (Santo Domingo Time)
9 km (6 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.0 13 mins later
Dec 22, 2023 02:42PM (Santo Domingo Time)
38 km (24 mi)
SSE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.0 1 hr later
Dec 22, 2023 03:45PM (Santo Domingo Time)
32 km (20 mi)
SSE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.9 3 hrs later
Dec 22, 2023 05:16PM (Santo Domingo Time)
48 km (30 mi)
S from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.9 5 hrs later
Dec 22, 2023 07:43PM (Santo Domingo Time)
67 km (42 mi)
S from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.9 9 hrs later
Dec 22, 2023 11:48PM (Santo Domingo Time)
19 km (12 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.6 11 hrs later
Dec 23, 2023 01:46AM (Santo Domingo Time)
14 km (8 mi)
NNW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.8 17 hrs later
Dec 23, 2023 07:20AM (Santo Domingo Time)
8 km (5 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.8 20 hrs later
Dec 23, 2023 10:24AM (Santo Domingo Time)
31 km (20 mi)
ENE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.0 1 day later
Dec 23, 2023 04:56PM (Santo Domingo Time)
27 km (17 mi)
ESE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.1 2 days later
Dec 25, 2023 01:01AM (Santo Domingo Time)
77 km (48 mi)
S from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.2 2 days later
Dec 25, 2023 02:14AM (Santo Domingo Time)
45 km (28 mi)
SSE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.5 3 days later
Dec 25, 2023 02:37AM (Santo Domingo Time)
46 km (28 mi)
SSE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.8 3 days later
Dec 25, 2023 09:17AM (Santo Domingo Time)
16 km (10 mi)
NE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.8 3 days later
Dec 25, 2023 09:45AM (Santo Domingo Time)
7 km (4 mi)
NNW from Main Shock.
Detected MAG2.5+ earthquakes within within 100km (62 mi), that occurred in the three days before and after the main shock.

More earthquakes coming?

Earthquakes can create aftershocks. These are generally at least 1 magnitude lower than any main shock, and as time passes the chance and strength of aftershocks decreases.

In only six percent of cases, significant earthquakes are followed by a larger main shock, making the current earthquake a foreshock. While the chance of this happening is not so large, it is adviced to maintain cautiousness in the hours and days following a major earthquake.

Read: How to Stay Safe during an Earthquake (cdc.gov).

This is the strongest earthquake in 3 years

Earthquakes of this strength occur quite regularly in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since July 3rd, 2020, when a 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit 264 km (164 mi) further south-east. An even stronger magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck on January 7th, 2020.

In total, 11 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.3 or higher have been registered within 300km (186 mi) of this epicenter in the past 10 years. This comes down to an average of once every year.

Low tsunami risk

DISCLAIMER: We strongly suggest to closely monitor advice from local authorities with regards to tsunami risks. Our analysis is based on automatically collected data from external sources, and these might contain mistakes. In addition, earthquakes can cause landslides that may lead to a tsunami, or be a followed by another, potentially stonger, earthquake.

Based on early data it appears this earthquake was not strong enough (lower than MAG-6.5) to be likely to cause destructive tsunami's. However this earthquake appeared to have hit at a shallow depth under sea, so stay cautious and monitor advice from local authorities.

Tsunami Risk Factors

Factor Under Sea? MAG-6.5 or stronger? Shallow depth?
Explanation Almost all tsunami's are caused by earthquakes with their epicenter under sea or very near the sea. However stay cautious in coastal areas as earthquakes on land may cause landslides into sea, potentially still causing a local tsunami. Under MAG 6.5: Very unlikely to cause a tsunami.
MAG 6.5 to 7.5: Destructive tsunami's do occur, but are uncommon. Likely to observe small sea level changes.
MAG 7.6+: Earthquakes with these magnitudes might produce destructive tsunami's.
Most destructive tsunami's are caused by shallow earthquakes with a depth between 0 and 100km under the surface of the earth. Deeper tsunami's are unlikely to displace to ocean floor.
This Earthquake This earthquake appears to have struck under the sea. Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 5.3. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 10 km (6 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 20/02/24 06:18 (). As more information on this earthquake becomes available this article will be updated. This article is automatically composed based on data originating from multiple sources.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake pr2023356000
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20231222_0000238
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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