09/01/1530 | 1530 El Pilar Earthquake


This is the first documented large earthquake in Venezuela. Reports are only scarce, but the little information available was compiled by Ardemand and Guzman (2017) describing an intensity of X in Cumaná and tsunami wave heights of 5-7, more than in any other known earthquake around Venezuela.
Magnitudes are only given as Ms (7.1-7.3), however Tanner and Shepherd (1997) also provide Mw8.0 for this event.
Combining both findings, either the tsunami waves have been amplified by submarine landslides or the earthquake was substantially larger than any other known shallow earthquake in the region.

Important findings from the analysis of Ardemand and Guzman (2017):
- It took place in midmorning (9-10am)
- Time between earthquake and tsunami was short (close to shore)
- Epicenter was close to Cumana (the only relevant settlement at the time)
- Complete destruction of the Cumana fort by shaking
- Inundation in Cumana (and another small settlement 11 km away)
- Tsunami run-up of 5-7 and some mangroves have been unrooted
- At least 4 deaths due to drowning
- Inundation as far as 500m inland (around Manzanares River delta and Caiguire hills)

Due to the high uncertainties and chance that this earthquake might have been bigger than the anticipated Ms7.3, it was added to this list.

Events in the same region
Date Title Region Preferred Magnitude Quality*
1530 Sep 01st, 15:23 1530 El Pilar Earthquake Venezuela 7.3 C
  • Audemard and Guzman (2017) -Audemard, F. A., & Guzman, A. F. L. (2017). Reliability of first-hand accounts on the study of historical tsunamis in northeastern Venezuela (southeastern Caribbean Sea). Annals of Geophysics, 60(6), 0660. - Link
  • GHEA (GHEC v1.0) -Albini P., Musson R.M.W., Rovida A., Locati M., Gomez Capera A.A., and Viganò D. (2014). The Global Earthquake History. Earthquake Spectra, May 2014, Vol.30, No.2, pp. 607-624. http://doi.org/10.1193/122013EQS297 - Link
Event Characteristics
Preferred Magnitude 7.30 (7.10-8.00)
Epicenter 10.700°N, -64.100°E
Depth unknown
Tsunami yes
Paleo-Event no
Quality of Evidence C

Magnitude Range
Year Reference Magnitude
2017 Audemard and Guzman (2017) 7.3 (7.1-7.3)
2014 GHEA (GHEC v1.0) 7.3 (7.3-8)

This table lists some of the most relevant publications in estimating the moment magnitude of this earthquake. If you think there are other important or new publications, please get in contact.