4.0-magnitude earthquake shakes V.I.
Published: August 3, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - A shallow, "light" earthquake about 30 miles from St. Thomas struck Thursday afternoon.
The 4.0-magnitude quake was recorded at 1:42 p.m., according to V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Christine Lett. Its epicenter was 30.14 miles from St. Thomas, 59.43 miles from St. Croix and 20.98 miles from St. John at a depth of 23.61 miles.
Lett said the agency received a number of calls from residents who felt the earthquake, but no damage was reported. The U.S. Geological Survey's Puerto Rico Seismic Network and the Tsunami Warning Center reported that the earthquake did not generate a tsunami, she said.
The territory experiences thousands of earthquakes every year, most of which are either too weak or too deep below the Earth's surface for people to feel, according to Lett. Emergency responders still want people to be aware of what to do in case of an earthquake so they are ready if a major quake hits, she said.
"We're in one of those areas where we always say we know eventually we're going to be hit with a big one that will generate a tsunami," Lett said.
An earthquake would have to be at least a 6.0-magnitude to create a tsunami, according to Lett. The agency's earthquake scale ranges from "minor," between 2.0- and 2.9-magnitude, to "great," for magnitudes of 8.0-and above.
People can sign up to receive email, text message or faxed alerts about earthquakes and other emergency information by visiting www.vitema.gov and clicking on the "VI-ALERT" button in the upper right-hand corner of the page.