Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake Hits the U.S. Virgin Islands

At approximately 9:32 a.m. Sunday, a 5.5 magnitude earthquake rattled the U.S. Virgin Islands, causing minor damage to items in the homes of those impacted. The British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Caribbean Netherlands, Saint Barthélemy, Antigua and Barbuda, and Anguilla were also affected.

1867 USVI tsunami (Photo credit: Tsunami Research Center)

The most recent earthquake to hit the Virgin Islands occurred on May 5 at 4:08 p.m., and there was another one two weeks earlier, on April 19 at 8:32 a.m. Despite the fact that the islands experienced earthquakes in the past, they were pretty minor compared to the one that occurred Sunday morning. Many residents reported glasses shattering, things in their houses tumbling to the ground, and uneasiness as a result of the earthquake.

In 1867, a massive earthquake struck the Virgin Islands, causing a tsunami felt across the world. It occurred around 2:45 p.m. on Nov. 18. There were more than 50 fatalities as a result of the earthquake. The tsunami that resulted was among the most powerful ever recorded in the Lesser Antilles. The waves reached heights of more than 10 meters.