* 5.8 magnitude quake shakes island capital George Town
* No injuries or damage reported, just shaken nerves
* Affluent British territory has tough building codes
(Adds quotes, detail, bylines)
By Alan Markoff and Shurna Robbins
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Jan 19 Buildings
and homes shook in the Cayman Islands on Tuesday as a 5.8
magnitude earthquake rattled the Caribbean hedge fund center,
but there were no reports of injury or damage.
Minor temblors are common in the region, but Cayman
residents were mindful of the 7.0 earthquake that devastated
much of the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince a week ago.
"The whole building was rocking," said Junior Elliott, 30,
who was delivering water bottles to a four-story office
building near the harbor in George Town, the capital.
"Everybody scrambled, trying to get out. They couldn't use
the elevators, so they went down the stairs."
The earthquake hit 30 miles (50 km) southeast of Grand
Cayman Island at 9:23 a.m., Cayman Islands Chief Meteorologist
John Tibbetts said.
"I have heard no reports of any damage in Grand Cayman.
There have been no calls to 911 or Hazard Management. It
appears to be just a shaking for us," Tibbetts said.
Some phone systems were temporarily out of service but the
quake had not caused major disruption, residents said.
Under Cayman building codes, homes and commercial
structures must be built to withstand hurricanes as well as
earthquakes. Grand Cayman lies just north of a very active
fault line called the Oriente Fracture Zone, which roughly
follows the northern edge of the Cayman Trough, the deepest
part of the Caribbean Sea.
Grand Cayman experienced a 6.8 magnitude earthquake on
December 14, 2004, just three months after being devastated by
Hurricane Ivan. But that earthquake caused only minor damage to
some home foundations and swimming pools.
(Editing by Jane Sutton and David Storey)