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Puerto Rico / Roland LaForge

Shoreline damage in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico after the 1918 earthquake / Roland LaForge

SRL: Forgotten Archives Reveal Impact of 1918 Puerto Rico Earthquake and Tsunami

5 July 2017— Repair petitions filed in the wake of the 1918 Puerto Rico earthquake and tsunami, stored and forgotten in the San Juan archives for nearly 100 years, are giving scientists a house-by-house look at the damage wrought by the magnitude 7.3 event.

In a study published 5 July in the journal Seismological Research Letters, seismologists Roland LaForge and William McCann describe how they used the records to trace the impact of the earthquake in Aguadilla, the town closest to the 1918 epicenter.

The researchers combed through handwritten and often heartbreaking petitions for funds to repair homes battered or washed away by the tsunami, or damaged by earthquake ground shaking. Together, the data provide a “pretty accurate picture to find out where the damage was, and how far the tsunami made it inland,” said LaForge.

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