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HomeNewsArchivesSLIGHT EARTHQUAKE FELT IN V.I.

SLIGHT EARTHQUAKE FELT IN V.I.

Oct.16, 2001 – A small earthquake rattled windows and had some Virgin Islanders looking for cover Tuesday morning, but officials with the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency said no damage was reported.
The magnitude 4.9 quake, which occurred at 11:27 a.m., was centered about 37 miles north of St. Thomas in the Sombrero seismic region, which follows the Puerto Rico trench in the Atlantic Ocean, according to Victor Huarfano of the Puerto Rico Seismic Network.
An intensity level of 4.0 was reported in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he said, adding that a quake of that intensity felt similar to a heavy truck rumbling past.
There were no estimates of the intensity on St. Thomas, but several people said the quake felt like a slight shaking for several seconds.
While some people looked for cover when the shaking started, others did not even feel it, said Vitema Director Harold Baker.
"No one in the office here knew there was an earthquake," he said Tuesday afternoon. Vitema had received no reports of damage from the quake.
Five aftershocks were recorded after the quake at 11:27 a.m. Tuesday. The largest registered magnitude 3.8 about five minutes after the main earthquake, Huarfano said.
The Sombrero is a fairly active seismic region that has had six earthquakes of between 4.5 and 5.0 magnitude in the last 10 years, Huarfano said. The North American and Caribbean plates come together in the region, creating conditions for earthquakes to occur, he said.
Earthquakes between 4.0 and 5.0 magnitude can cause moderate damage, but that is unlikely, Huarfano said. An earthquake of that size is also too small to create a tsunami, he added.

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