July 13, 2003 – An earthquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale was felt on St. John and St. Thomas minutes before 10 a.m. Sunday.
The earthquake, centered 15 miles east of Anegada at 18.71 degrees north latitude and 64.18 degrees west longitude, occurred 39 miles below the earth's surface, according to the Puerto Rico Seismic Network.
A few hundred miles away, at 2:15 p.m. Saturday, the Montserrat Observatory began reporting heavy ash moving west from pyroclastic flows from the Soufriére Hills Volcano. As of Sunday morning the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Web site reported that the volcano had exploded, spewing enough ash to close airports in neighboring St. Martin, St. Kitts and Anguilla.
Closer to home, the ash found its way onto vehicles and porches on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. By Sunday night, flights were being canceled in and out of Cyril E. King Airport as well, due to ash in the air. A V.I. Port Authority spokesperson on St. Croix said there had been no flights cancelled into the Henry E. Rohlsen airport on that island as of 8 p.m. Sunday, but reports on NOAA's Web site indicate the ash is headed toward St. Croix and Puerto Rico.
Travelers should contact the airlines to check for cancellations.
According to Roy A. Watlington, science professor at the University of the Virgin Islands, "The location of this earthquake was near the area that has been historically active for earthquakes and has no relation to the Montserrat volcano activity."

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