4.7 Quake Rattles BVI


Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith said that while the earthquake that rocked the Territory on 6 April was startling it was not cause for serious concern.

Last Friday at around 5:21pm tremors were felt in the BVI. The following day the Department of Disaster Management announced that the earthquake measured a magnitude of 4.7 with an intensity of four. The Puerto Rico Seismic Network reported that the earthquake occurred in the vicinity of the British Virgin Islands.

“Intensity four on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale means such earthquakes are generally noticed indoors, but not outside, as a moderate vibration or jolt. Light sleepers may be awakened. Walls may creak, and glassware, crockery, doors or windows rattle,” the DDM stated.

It was reported that the epicenter of the quake was located at latitude 18.70, longitude 64.67 or approximately 19.7 miles North of Road Town, Tortola, BVI at a depth of 25 miles. However, no tsunami watches, advisories or warnings were issued for the VI as a result.

While speaking at a reception on 7 April Premier Smith recalled experiencing the quake, and noted that it was not a worrying experience. “Few days ago we were sitting in the House of Assembly and the building shook and I was told that there was an earthquake miles away – a 5.2 on the Richter scale. When I told some of my friends about it they said it was good that it was an earthquake that was low on the Richter scale, because what the earth was trying to do was relieve the pressure beneath the earth. So that meant we would not have a major earthquake – that was his explanation,” the Premier said.

In its statement following the quake the DDM noted that the BVI is located in a seismically active zone, which makes the Territory vulnerable to earthquakes. Therefore residents were advised when they experience an earthquake to stay calm: “If you are inside stay there, move away from ceiling fans, glass windows and doors or anything that may fall.  Get under a desk or sturdy piece of furniture cover your head and hold on. If outdoors, move into an open area away from trees, buildings, or utility wires and poles. During an earthquake the more you move the more likely you are to be hurt, so refrain from entering or exiting a building at the time of the impact” the DDM stated.