Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/395

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391
THE JAMAICA EARTHQUAKE

West Indies. When the town was for the most part submerged by the earthquake of 1692, this favorite site was abandoned for the Liguanea plain just across the harbor, and Kingston was founded on the largest of the fringing plains of loosely compacted sands and gravels. And here in this closely built city of 60,000 (and at Buff Bay opposite on the north shore) the destruction by the last earthquake was felt most keenly. Eighty-five per cent, of the buildings were injured or destroyed. Then came Kingston's old enemy, fire, and swept over ten or fifteen blocks of the business and warehouse section. (Figs. 4 and 5.)

The earthquake shock that brought disaster to the island of Jamaica began, according to the regulator of Mr. J. A. Soulette, at 3:33 p.m. Others record its arrival two or three minutes earlier. In various

 

PSM V70 D395 The narrow harbour street of the burned district.png

Fig. 5. In Burned District; the Narrow Harbour Street, looking east.

 

places on the island, as reported by local times, its occurrence varied from 3:20 to 3 45 p.m. In the investigation it was found impossible to plot any coseismal lines, for the reason that no accurate coordinated time exists in the island. Since the shock, however, there has been a movement on foot in Kingston to establish a system of accurate timekeeping throughout Jamaica. The shock lasted about thirty-five seconds, varying in length with the location and geological position of the observer. At the east end of the island some noted a duration of sixty seconds; on the north shore a length of ninety seconds, while at other points near by the duration reported was anywhere from five to forty seconds. The slight preliminary tremors were felt immediately before the main shock, and the noise and roar was heard slightly before the coming of the major vibrations. One man, used to earthquake