June 29, 2006 — For the second night in a row, an earthquake shook the Virgin Islands, just as many residents were sitting down to dinner. Both quakes were located at nearly the same spot — about 25 miles northwest of Charlotte Amalie — and struck at almost the same time of day.
On Thursday, a magnitude 3.5 earthquake — centered at 18.65 degrees north latitude and 65.15 degrees west longitude — hit at 6:27 p.m. Rafael Abreu, a seismologist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Co., said it was located at a depth of 25.4 kilometers, or 15.7 miles.
"It was one big shock. It startled me a little," Coral Bay, St. John, resident Sylvia Weaver said.
Residents on both the north and south sides of St. Thomas said the roar was heard before the quake was felt.
On Wednesday, residents felt an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.5 at 6:12 p.m. The quake, centered at 18.65 degrees north latitude and 65.14 degrees west longitude, was also about 15 miles under the ocean floor.
The Puerto Rico Seismic Network also reported a magnitude 3.9 earthquake at 5:12 a.m. Thursday. The quake was located 15 miles west-southwest of Stella, Puerto Rico.
Thursday's earthquake brought the recorded total for the month in the Puerto Rico and V.I. areas to 174. The strongest was a 4.3 magnitude quake on June 5 in the Mona Passage.
Weaver said that while these small earthquakes are noticeable, she expects one day the territory will see "the big one."
In 1867, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake occurred in the Anegada trough, located between St. Croix and St. Thomas, causing two tsunamis and great damage to both islands.
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