The coastline of Belize follows the “Swan Fracture Fault” which is between the North American and Caribbean Plates.  The Swan Fracture Fault  can rupture from 300 to 500 kilometres in length thus causing major earthquakes. 

A tsunami could be caused by a major earthquake along the Swan Fracture Fault, or even by earthquakes hundreds to thousands of kilometers out to sea.


Belize is rated with a moderate chance of having a major earthquake within 50 years. Recently earthquakes have been more common in southern and western Belize.

In the first earthquake for 25 years, on May 28th 2009, Belize suffered from a 7.1 strong earthquake that struck off the coast of Belize and Honduras. Damage was moderate with  five homes collapsing and severe or moderate damage to many others.  Many wooden shacks on stilts sunk several feet into ground. In Monkey River, gaping holes were formed up to four feet (over a meter) deep. A water tower toppled in the town of Independence and electricity was out all the way to the Mexican border.


Belize is tsunami prone, and at least 10 significant tsunami's have affected Belize over the 520 years since 1492, one every 52 years.

Tsunami's are high and long lasting waves caused by undersea earthquakes. Tsunami's drive a wall of water far inland like a very fast flowing river. The waves can be up to 40 foot or more high. Tsunami's will level many buildings and sweep away and drown people and livestock.

The best way to avoid Tsunami's is to not live on exposed coastlines.

In the event of an earth tremor listen to the radio or television for tsunami warnings. Move inland to higher ground to avoid the effects of tsunami's.