Authorities are gathering reports from Floridians who experienced shaking from a 4.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast, the National Weather Service confirmed. The quake occurred around 100 miles east of Cape Canaveral, and the data, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Indicates it occurred about 6 miles beneath the ocean floor
More than about 80 reports of shaking were submitted to the USGS, but fortunately, authorities assured the public that no significant damages or injuries were reported.
“Earthquakes in Florida are rare; they’re not non-existent,” USGS seismologist Paul Earle, a seismologist with the USGS, told Scripps News West Palm Beach. “It’s a stable region. That being said, as we just learned, it does have earthquakes but much rarer than in other areas.”
“It’s not very typical,” he said. “Most calls we get for shaking turn out to be something else, like a sonic boom.”
The scientist said a fault exists, but seismologists don’t know much about it. “We just can’t tell with small earthquakes like this,” he said.
Earle said California, which ordinarily has more earthquakes, has an early warning system that tells people “that shaking’s coming a few seconds before,” but the southern state likely won’t have one any time soon, if at all.
“These are very expensive systems, and Florida doesn’t have a lot of earthquakes. So it may be a while until something like that is installed in Florida,” he also stated
While Florida isn’t typically associated with seismic activity, history tells a different story. In September 2006, a 5.9 magnitude quake in the Gulf of Mexico was felt in Florida and neighboring states. Reports from the USGS indicated items falling from shelves and peculiar waves in swimming pools across parts of Florida. The quake’s reach extended beyond Florida, impacting areas as far as Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
Going further back, in 1879, a powerful earthquake shook north Florida, believed to be one of the state’s strongest historical quakes. Residents were jolted awake, and kitchen items were thrown from shelves, according to records from the University of Florida.
While reports of earthquakes are rare in Florida, the USGS occasionally receives reports later identified as sonic booms or military testing, explained Earle. However, the evidence suggests Wednesday’s earthquake was of natural origin.
As Floridians recount their experiences of rare seismic activity, the incident serves as a reminder that even in regions deemed stable, nature can surprise us with its unpredictability.
The Miami Herald also found that eight additional incidents of seafloor shaking have been recorded since 2000, which were attributed to “experimental explosions” centered on the seafloor rather than below. The USGS reported those explosions registering between 3.7 and 3.9 magnitude.
However, USGS officials have not reported Wednesday night’s quake to any experiments. What makes the earthquake more mysterious is that the region is not known for hosting tectonic plate boundaries, which are prone to having seismic activity, the Miami Herald reported.
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