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The Susquehanna Valley in Pennsylvania experienced an earth quake last night.... Answered

at around midnight: my wife freaked out, but it was hardly worth being frightened about. It felt like an overloaded tractor trailer barreling down the road. Just a little vibration.

I am posting this, mostly for any that felt it in my area and wanted confirmation that this actually was what happened ...

The local news was right on it....

Some info here



9 years ago

York experienced one just after midnight on New Years....it wasn't as strong as the other on though....

Oh I hadn't heard about that one.

yep...i heard it on the radio....i think it was a 2. something...it was smaller (thats all i really remember)

Hehe, how sweet it is to live in a place never hit by earthquakes... Just minor things like flash floods and tornadoes.

. X ( Shoulds thoughta old Wonder World (local fault and cave tour). Ok, I've never felt a quake...

. "Texas' second largest earthquake occurred on 14 April 1995, also in west Texas. It had a magnitude of 5.8, and was felt in Austin." - TX Earthquake FAQ at UTIG. You may have been too young to notice that one. Or busy, it wouldn't have been very strong where you're at.

.At that time, I lived in Austin, but I couldn't even read yet so yah, doubt I remember it... *gives up arguing with Nacho*

. Bah! We're not arguing, I'm just showing off my web search skillz. ;)

Well, we have had a few tornadoes too ;-) not often with those either, though.

. Nah. There aren't (m)any places that don't have earthquakes of some sort, so I just Googled: earthquake +

. There's some kind of small fault that runs underneath my neighborhood. Every two or three years we will feel/hear what might be an explosion at a distant refinery but turns out to be an earthquake. But nothing that lasts the minute-plus of the one you just had.
. Skunkbait lives not too far from the New Madrid fault. That one made the Mississippi River run backwards in 1812! There was a 5.2 in 2008.

Yep! I'm from around that area too. Never experienced anything too big though - most times I slept through them while my mom freaked out. :P After hearing from people in San Francisco how bad quakes can be, though, I don't think I'll be looking for one. Just happy I'm a little farther east now!

Not necessarily east enough :-) The USGS has a great series of maps showing fault regions which have been active during Quaternary time (the last ~1.6 Mya). Here's yours.

Really "bad" quakes are rare, even in California. There was a "cluster" of them along the northern San Andreas during the late 70's (when I was in elementary school) and in Southern California in the mid-to-late 80's (when I was down there in college). Even 5.5-6.5 quakes really only do local damage (close to the epicenter) or to buildings which are not up to code.

The large, damaging ones (above 6.5) make the news, and often the same video clips of damage are shown over and over and over and over and over, making things seem worse than they are.

After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, there was some helicopter an ground-based video taken of a collapsed apartment building on fire in the San Francisco Marina district. Because the clips were from different vantage points and different directions, the news coverage made it seem like the whole city was burning (as in 1906). But it was just one building!

Those sorts of major events are just a few per lifetime (I've been in two in 42 years). Hurricanes, tornado, blizzards, those seem to be a few per decade for you folks in the midwest and east :-(

Well, I am east of you here in PA at least I think I am

The New Madrid fault quakes in 1812-1813 started with the largest (estimated) North American earthquake in recorded history, exceeding even the Anchorage subduction quake of 1960. A fault like that in the middle of a craton (old continental crust) is a true anomaly; it is almost inexplicable (though not unexplained by theorists!) in modern geological theory (plate tectonics).

Yeah, this was definitely the longest one I have ever experienced in my area, and they are so infrequent it they kind of stand out.


9 years ago

Well, I live in CA and not only that but near the bay area and close to a sub fault of the San Andreas fault that is also due for a big one. Hopefully it does not come any time soon or on that subfault. and the chance that it won't hit that particular fault are very slim right now

That is an area I wouldn't move too close to willingly :-) Maybe close enough to drive in now and then, but never that near the crack ;-)

Why not? Earthquakes aren't a huge deal. 50-something people were killed in the Loma Prieta (1989 World Series) earthquake, most of them on one single stretch of freeway which collapsed. Compare that with the ~5500 people killed in the Kobe earthquake in Japan, or the 25,000+ in Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, etc. Building codes. California has one of the best seismic safety codes in the world, and they bump it up a notch after every major quake (lessons learned). I feel far safer living in California than I would, say, along the Gulf Coast.

Building codes are great until the west coast slides into the ocean, then they had better be water tight too ;-)

I feel far safer living in California than I would, say, along the Gulf Coast.

Honestly, I don't feel safe on any coast. I am 3.5 hours away from the east coast and I got to experience a LITTLE bit of Agnes....this is as close as I want to be to any of that mess :-)

Not so much water tight as really well insulated. Everything from L.A. to San Francisco (on the Pacific plate) is moving north-northwest at something like 3 mm/year (average!). In roughly 12 million years, my parents' house will be in Alaska :-)

I just meant that a major quake and some of the area might be swimmin' with the fishes :-)

Indeed, although that's more commonly from the weather -- we tend to have cycles of very heavy rains followed by dry years. Near my parents' house, they lost the bottom half of their street (seven houses) to cliffside erosion about five years ago. About 20 years ago, three houses on a cliff about half a mile away were condemned when their backyards ended up in the ocean. The cliffs involved are fault scarps where the San Andreas goes into the Pacific just south of San Francisco.

PS: I don't know what the building codes are here, for normal buildings, but the parking garage they built when the company I worked for moved downtown, started to have the walls, pillars, and doors separate within a year of it's being built, I kind of question some of those codes.

Oh, by the way, the house I grew up in is dead center on the San Andreas fault, right where it goes into the Pacific at Mussel Rock. From our living room window, we could look straight up the cliffs and see Point Reyes (east edge of Tomales Bay) on the horizon.

When I was a college student, I sent my dad a copy of the USGS map of the Peninsula, with his property parcel overlaid on the fault trace. He didn't appreciate it.

Which one? If you're near the Hayward Fault, check out the USGS Web site -- they have a terrific walking tour of downtown Hayward, where they point out thinks like all the shifted sidewalks. And don't forget that great hillside behind Cal State Hayward (I refuse to call it "CSEB"!), which is the fault scarp itself.

A few months back the tremors from a very distant quake woke me up in the middle of the night. I was so groggy-I couldn't figure out why everything on my dresser was moving...took me two or three full minutes to realize what was going on. :D

Actually, no, it was quite an anomaly. That's why it was so confusing! :D

So far, I haven't been awakened by one, but they are so infrequent here that I normally assume they are something else.

The UK is slap in the middle of a plate, so the worst quakes we get are post-glacial settling (Scotland is rising and the South is sinking), which tend to be shallow rumbles that wobble a few ornaments and scare a couple of old ladies who can't sleep.

Nowhere is totally free of earthquakes, but they do tend to cluster. However, USGS has a nice map of recent world activity, which shows that GH's quake kind of stands out from the usual pattern (map of recent US quakes).

. If you click on the orange square located in PA (on either map that Kiteman linkd to), it will bring up a page with more info (loc, depth, magnitude, &c;).

Ah, they relocated the epi to Landisville (not very far from Mountville).

Geostatic rebound! One of the few things the Old Geology (pre-plate tectonics) got right :-)

I love to think of the sound-effect - a ka-doing sound, like a twanged ruler, but s--t--r--e--t--c--h--e--d o--u--t t--o t--e--n t--h--o--u--s--a--n--d y--e--a--r--s...

I believe I read that the epicenter was in Mountville.....my old hometown :-)

According to the USGS (see Kiteman's posting for the links) this was "only" a 3.4.

Speaking as a California native (Hollister, Morgan Hill, Coalinga, Whittier Narrows, Loma Prieta, Northridge, plus many dozen Little Ones), an M3.4 earthquake is barely enough to rattle dishes, maybe knock some stuff of shelves right at the epicenter. That's assuming your area has sensible building codes :-/

If you live in an area without active faults, even a little one can be really frightening, since it speaks to deep assumptions in human nature about stability.

We had one report of a woman with pots stacked on her stove, having them rattled off....but it really did sound louder then it felt. For my wife, it frightened the daylights out of her (although, it WAS a little past midnight at the time ;-), but for me, the fright came from the fact that it sounded much like the Furnace rattling its last time before blowing its head off :-)

By the way, I wasn't trying to minimize the very legitimate fear that an earthquake, especially one in an area without them, will induce.

The Landers/Big Bear quakes hit when I was in grad school, renting a house with two colleagues. One of them was from Canada and the other from India. Both of them were really frightened, to the point of starting to run out of the house "in case it fell down."

I turned on the news (to find out where the quake was), made some coffee (it was 5:30 am, for G*d's sake!), and told them if they ran out and got electrocuted (from downed power lines), I wasn't about to go after them :-/

Ok, someone else mentioned that it was like dropping a baseball on the floor, and that was not what it was like at all. Had I known right off that it was just an earthquake tremor, I wouldn't have been so disturbed by it, but like I told the other fellow, it did sound like a malfunctioning gas furnace (not something I care to be sitting directly above, if that were the case).
My wife knew right away that it was a quake and despite the fact that it lasted only a few seconds and none of the ancient walls of our Apt. cracked or fell down (they do that without a quake ;-) she was still quite frightened by it all. It took me half an hour to calm her down.


9 years ago

yea...i felt it...it wasn't much, but towards the Epicenter it was(obviously) stronger...it rattler the windows a little....it happened around 12:04 at about 3.3 on teh Richter scale...

That's how earthquakes work. The ground is a terrible transmitter; the wave amplitudes fall off quite rapidly with distance. There's also strong dispersion (different frequencies and wave types travel with different speeds), so the shaking you feel farther away lasts longer.

Yes, I heard it more than felt it :-)

So you're just letting people that felt it know they aren't crazy? :D We've gotten a few earthquakes around here. None lately as far as I know though... I'm just glad there hasn't been a tsunami or something...

Yeah, my wife called all around thinking it was a bomb (she's never heard a bomb before, so I had to humor her some).

I once thought an earthquake we had was a giant running through the streets XD