Jan. 22, 2007 — Earlier risers in the St. Thomas-St. John region were shook by a 3.7 magnitude earthquake at 6:39 a.m. Monday.
The Puerto Rico Seismic Network (PRSN) reported that the earthquake was centered at 18.6 degrees north latitude and 65 degrees west longitude. This put it about 25 miles north-northwest of Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. The quake occurred about 14 miles under the surface of the sea floor in an area called the Virgin Islands platform.
The PRSN reported that so far, January has had 156 earthquakes across the region. The strongest was a 4.6 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 10 in the Puerto Rico trench.
Steve Parris, who is the acting director at the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency, reminded residents that the Virgin Islands sits in the same seismic zone as California, a state that has seen several disastrous earthquakes in the past few decades.
"We need to be quite aware of our surroundings," he said.
Parris said that the territory has a strong building code to help buildings withstand earthquakes. However, he said residents still need to know that a big earthquake can hit the territory.
He said the last bad earthquake was in 1867, which also resulted in a tsunami.
Parris said that his agency is working on installing tsunami evacuation route signs to guide residents and visitors to higher ground should a tsunami threaten.
"We're moving in that direction, but I can't say when it will happen," he said.
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