Dec. 2, 2002 – If your bed was shaking early Sunday morning, it was because of an earthquake that registered 4.1 on the Richter Scale. While a few people reported being wakened by the tremor, most people apparently slept right through it.
The quake was centered at 18 degrees north latitude and 64.7 degrees west longitude, or about 15.5 miles southeast of St. John. It occurred at 4:52 a.m. about 15 miles below Earth's crust. No damage was reported.
According to the Puerto Rico Seismic Network's Web site, the Virgin Islands also experienced four other earthquakes on the same day, all in the same area and ranging in strength from 3.5 to 3.9 on the Richter scale.
The Seismic Network recorded 76 earthquakes in the region during November, including seven in the Virgin Islands. One which occurred on Nov. 13, shaking homes and putting fear into residents, registered 5.0 at the National Earthquake Center in Colorado. The Seismic Network, however, recorded it as a 4.7. The discrepancy reflects differences in equipment at the two research facilities.
While Sunday's quake was minor, it serves as a reminder that a big one can hit, and Virgin Islands residents should be prepared. This means securing whatever you can. Heavy upright objects such as gas cylinders and bookshelves should be secured both to prevent damage to the items and to prevent them from hitting someone if they topple during an earthquake.
Should a major earthquake occur, the safest thing to do is "drop, cover and hold." This means stay away from windows; crouch under a desk or table; and, if the desk or table moves, grab the legs and move with it.
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