EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Over 14,000 earthquakes have been rattling São Jorge, one of nine islands that makes up the Azores, according to the Azores Seismovolcanic Information and Surveillance Center (CIVISA).

The shaking began back on March 19 and hasn’t stopped since with most of the epicenters occurring along the western and central portion of the island.

Experts say the number of earthquakes in the nine-day span is more than double the total earthquakes in 2021. As a result, CIVISA has issued a level 4 alert, which means there is a “real possibility that a volcanic eruption could occur, but there is no evidence that this is imminent.”

The municipality of Velas, located on the southwestern coast of the island, has been the epicenter of more than 2,000 earthquakes since March 19, according to Reuters.

The strongest earthquake on the island, according to CIVISA, registered as a 3.3 magnitude on the Richter scale.

Over the last several days, Reuters reports 1,500 of the island’s 8,400 residents have left by sea or air out of fear.

Courtesy: Oregon State University

Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa visited São Jorge on Sunday to attend a briefing about the situation and calm the locals, according to Reuters.

Residents of the Azores are familiar with earthquakes and tremors as the series of islands are located along a trio of fault lines, often referred to as the “Azores Triple Junction.”

Azores is the center connection between three major tectonic plates including the North American, Eurasia, and African tectonic plates which are found along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is located along the ocean floor and is part of the longest mountain range in the world. The mountain range is mainly underwater but forms land as a series of volcanic islands, including the Azores.

Scientists and experts say they will continue to monitor the situation and study the various potential outcomes.

The last volcanic eruption on land in the Azores was in 1957 on Faial Island. An earthquake on the same island in 1998 killed 10 people.