Earthquake swarm detected north of Virgin Islands
Published: August 30, 2012
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
The V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency said that V.I. Alert subscribers who have noticed a recent increase in earthquake notifications from the service should not be alarmed.
Between 3 a.m. Monday and continuing throughout the day Wednesday, more than 50 very minor to moderate earthquakes were recorded near Latitude 19 degrees north, north of the Virgin Islands, according to a statement VITEMA issued Wednesday. Those tremors included a 5.2-, 4.6- and 4.7-magnitude earthquake between 3 and 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Victor Huerfano, director of the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, confirmed that the increase in earthquake activity is a swarm of tremors, a phenomenon that occurs four or five times a year in different parts of the Caribbean region, according to VITEMA. A swarm is defined as three or more earthquakes occurring within an hour, and the Puerto Rico Seismic Network has been recording these instances since Saturday.
"It is normal but we cannot say what it means," Huerfano said. "It is more important that we make sure we are calm and prepared, and that emergency systems are in place in case a major earthquake happens."
The Virgin Islands is located in a seismically active region, which has a potential for a major earthquakes to occur at any time, according to VITEMA's statement.
VITEMA suggests these steps to take in case of an earthquake:
- If the ground begins to shake, the safest thing to do is drop, take cover under something sturdy and hold on until the shaking stops.
- If there is not something sturdy nearby, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
- It is best to remain inside until the shaking stops, and then go outside if it is safe.
- If you are outdoors and near a building, streetlights or utility wires, move away as quickly as possible. Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops.
For more information about what to do during and after an earthquake, go to www.vitema.gov; www.fema.gov/hazard/earthquake; or www.ready.gov/earthquake.