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USGS reports 4.0-magnitude earthquake outside of Cleveland in Lake Erie, just north of Eastlake

Posted at 11:01 AM, Jun 10, 2019

CLEVELAND — The United States Geological Survey reports a 4.0-magnitude earthquake was centered in Lake Erie, just north of Eastlake at 10:50 a.m.

Residents across a wide swath of Northeast Ohio reported feeling an earthquake Monday morning. Many said it felt like a car hit their homes.

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Preliminary reports by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources indicate the naturally-occurring earthquake took place about half a mile off the coast of Eastlake along the southern edge of Lake Erie in Lake County and had a 4.2 magnitude. A series of aftershocks followed, ranging in magnitude from 2.1 to 2.5.

"Seismic activity of 2.5 and above can generally be felt," stated ODNR Public Information Officer David Roorbach. "This is a known epicenter of natural earthquakes, due to the geologic history of the area. Seismologists from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources continue to monitor the seismic activity."

Jeff Fox, a seismologist with the ODNR Division of Geological Survey, said the slight discrepancy in magnitude numbers is due to different agencies and different stations reporting the earthquake.

No reports of damage

There was no damage reported at FirstEnergy's Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry Township.

"Perry Nuclear Power Plant employees completed a visual inspection inside and outside the Perry Plant this morning after the earthquake," said Senior Communications Representative Christopher Eck. "No damage was reported. The plant continues to operate at 100 percent power."

There are no reported power outages at this time.

A representative for Cargill Salt said team at their mine under Lake Erie is safe and the mine is operating as usual.

"We constantly monitor the mine and have rigorous safety protocols in place to ensure a safe environment for our team at all times," said Justin Barber with Cargill Salt.

Cellular Interruption

While the earthquake caused no damage, it appears to have been the cause of some cell phone services being interrupted.

The Geauga County Sheriff's Office reported the cellular interruption on Monday evening. Deputies said they had contacted the cell phone companies, who assured them that they were working towards restoring full service as quickly as possible.

USGS Explains

News 5 meteorologist Bryan Shaw spoke to an expert at the USGS shortly after the quake.

"The most you would typically see from a quake like this is something knocked from a shelf or a picture that wasn’t on the wall very well might fall...something like that," said USGS geophysicist Don Blakeman. "But we don’t expect to see structural damage to buildings in the U.S. anyway until about magnitude 5, because we have pretty good building codes everywhere."

Blakeman explained why those in the upper floors of buildings around the area may have felt the quake when those on the ground level did not.

"The higher the building is, the more waves tend to be amplified in general," he said. "So oftentimes people in high-rise buildings will feel an earthquake some distance away, whereas people on ground level or lower floors don’t feel it, and it’s just a matter of getting the building kind of shaking or swaying. So, oftentimes, the taller the building is the more likely it is that a quake will be felt. And it also depends on how well the building is built, how close you are to the earthquake, what the ground or rocks are like under the building. There are a lot of factors that determine how strongly something’s felt."

Blakeman encouraged anyone who felt the quake Monday morning to go on to the USGS website and fill out a "Did You Feel It?" report.

Residents react

A News 5 viewer in Mayfield Village said it felt like her whole house was shaking. Viewers felt it as far away as Strongsville. News 5 journalist Bob Fenner reported feeling a "rumble" in Mentor.

Areas included Euclid and Mentor, both of whose fire departments confirmed feeling a rumbling.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office says no damage has been reported.

In a tweet, the City of Mentor said dispatch is overwhelmed with 911 calls.

According USGS, 220 people reported feeling the earthquake.

Earthquakes in Ohio

Since 1836, Northeastern Ohio has experienced more than 100 earthquakes, many of them beneath Lake Erie offshore from Lake County. While many of the earthquakes caused little to no damage, an earthquake on January 31, 1986, in southern Lake County, shook the state and was felt in 10 other states and southern Canada, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The 1986 earthquake had a magnitude of 5.0 and caused minor to moderate damage, including broken windows and cracked plaster.

ODNR says little is known about Ohio's earthquakes. Those in Ohio appear to be associated with ancient zones of weakness in the Earth's crust that formed during rifting and collision events about a billion years ago, according to ODNR.


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