Tuesday 2 July 2013

Earthquake shakes Cleveland, Ohio.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a magnitude 3.2 Earthquake at a depth of 6.0 km beneath Lake Erie, roughly 6 km northwest of Fairport or 40 km northeast of Cleveland, lightly before 3.50 am local time (slightly before 7.50 am, GMT), on Monday 1 July 2013. No damage or casualties have been reported, but witnesses reported feeling the quake along much of the Ohio shore of the Lake.

The location of the 1 July 2013 quake beneath lake Erie. Google Maps.

Earthquakes in northwest Ohio are not infrequent, but seldom cause significant damage (although concerns have been raised that the potential for a serious quake in the region exists). These are associated with the Akron-Suffield Fault System, which formed during the Appalachian Orogeny during the between 325 and 260 million years ago, when the closing Iapetus Ocean caused the North American and African plates to collide, leading to uplift that formed the Appalachian Mountains, and intra-plate faulting within the North American Plate, as the plate buckled under the stress. This is not obvious at the surface, as the faulting occurred in Precambrian basement rocks, which are buried under hundreds of meters of glacial and post-glacial Pleistocene and Holocene deposits. 

Witness accounts of quakes can help geologists to understand these events and the rock structures that cause them. If you felt this quake you can report it to the USGS here.

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