SRL Call for Papers

Focus Section on Puerto Rico Seismicity, Tectonics and the 2020 M6.4 Earthquake Sequence

Seismological Research Letters (SRL) is soliciting papers for a Focus Section primarily on the 2020 Puerto Rico Earthquake Sequence and may also include paper on tectonics, seismicity and seismic hazards in the northern Caribbean region.

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake occurred 8 km off the southwest coast of Puerto Rico on 7 January 2020, as part of an ongoing sequence that started on 28 December 2019, including >100 M 4.0 and larger earthquakes. The earthquake sequence spans the coast of southwestern Puerto Rico along oblique strike-slip and normal faults in a deformation zone bound by the Punta Montalva Fault on land and the Guayanilla Canyon fault offshore. The proximity of these events to the main island of Puerto Rico and their shallow depth, resulted in many of these earthquakes being felt by the local population, with the M 5.8 and M6.4 earthquakes causing significant damage. A minor tsunami was also generated by the M6.4 earthquake.  Following the mainshock, seismologists, geologists and engineers mobilized to gather data on the rapidly evolving earthquake sequence.

The earthquake sequence is located in the deformation zone along the north edge of the Caribbean plate, where there is oblique collision between the North American and Caribbean plates. The zone is bounded to the north by the Puerto Rico Trench and to the south by the Muertos Trough.   The region has a history of active seismicity, including recent swarms west and northwest of the Island, and there is a history of tsunamis associated with earthquakes.

In this Focus Section, we hope to bring together papers summarizing the seismicity, tectonics and seismic hazards in the region, especially the unusual recent earthquake sequences. We especially encourage papers with new results that contribute to improved understanding of the hazard posed by the poorly understood and potentially tsunamigenic subduction zones surrounding Puerto Rico. Potential topics include:

  1. northern Caribbean regional tectonics and seismic and tsunami hazard;
  2. analyses of seismicity using new, high-quality earthquake catalogs;
  3. region-specific ground motion and attenuation models;
  4. earthquake effects such as site amplification and ground failure;
  5. structural damage observations;
  6. societal and economic impacts and risk communication;
  7. studies of fault slip rates, slip history, and geometry; and
  8. novel and creative methods and studies that contribute to advancing probabilistic seismic hazard models for Puerto Rico.

Guest Editors for the special section are:

Elizabeth Vanacore, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico;

Christa von Hillebrandt, NOAA CTWP, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico ;

Daniel McNamara, Daniel McNamara Consulting;

Deadline for submission of manuscripts: 15 August 2021
Estimated Date of Print Publication: March 2022

Papers will be reviewed as they are received and published online as soon as they are ready after acceptance.  In preparing manuscripts, authors must follow the SRL author guidelines at  Papers must be submitted via the SRL online submission system ( under the category “Puerto Rico Focus Section”.

Please address questions about scientific issues and notification of intent to submit to the guest editors or to Allison Bent, SRL Editor-in-Chief, at srleditor@seismosoc.orgSubmission-related questions should be addressed to Anastasia Pratt, managing editor, at