4.0 magnitude earthquake rattles northeastern Ohio

December 31, 2011OHIO - The latest in a series of minor earthquakes in northeast Ohio hit on Saturday, sending some stunned residents running for cover as bookshelves shook and pictures and lamps fell from tables. The 4.0 magnitude quake struck Saturday afternoon in McDonald, outside of Youngstown, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Area residents said a loud boom accompanied the shaking, but sheriff’s dispatchers from several counties in the area said there were no immediate reports of damage. A few miles from the epicenter, Charles Kihm said he was preparing food in his kitchen when he heard a noise and thought a vehicle had hit his Austintown home. “It really shook, and it rumbled, like there was a sound,” said Kihm, 82. “It was loud. It didn’t last long. But it really scared me.” The area has experienced at least 10 minor quakes in 2011, though Saturday’s temblor appeared to be stronger than others, which generally had a magnitude of 2.7 or lower. This time, some residents reported feeling trembling farther south into Columbiana County and east into western Pennsylvania. Many of the quakes have struck near an injection well used to dispose of brine water that’s a byproduct of oil and gas drilling. Thousands of gallons of brine are injected into the well daily, and much of it is shipped in from out of state. Its owner, Northstar Disposal Services LLC, has agreed to stop injecting brine into the earth as a precaution while authorities assess any potential links to the quakes. The head of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said research hadn’t led to a direct correlation with the injections but officials wouldn’t gamble with public safety. There are 177 similar injection wells around the state, and the Youngtown-area well has been the only site with seismic activity, the department said. Patti Gorcheff, who lives about 15 miles from the epicenter, said her dogs started barking inexplicably Saturday and the ornaments on her Christmas tree began to shake. Her husband thought he heard the sound of some sort of blast. “This is the biggest one we’ve had so far,” said Gorcheff, a North Lima resident who has raised concerns about quakes and drilling-related activity in the region. “I hope this is a wake-up call.” –Sac Bee
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13 Responses to 4.0 magnitude earthquake rattles northeastern Ohio

  1. Nikkoale says:

    I just found this excellent article about the Midwest and its seismic zones and potential for earthquakes…

    http://www.aapg.org/explorer/2002/11nov/rift_zone.cfm

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Okay, I’m testing something here. I notice my comments don’t go thru as fast as others after me, so I checked out the ‘sign in’ icons, and while I don’t have a twiter or facebook account (and won’t have one!) I tried posting this with the EP logo account. so I’m seeing if this goes thru. If it does, i’m going to go back and repost today’s comments the same way, and Alvin, if they show up, just delete the ones waiting to be moderated.

  3. dannrivera says:

    Cosmic Quake, like a sonic boom.

  4. Carolyn Lucas says:

    I stumbled on to a site about seismic activity in Ohio. 16 earthquakes in 2011, mostly Mahoning County area. Can’t wait for 2012, NOT! http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/tabid/23710/Default.aspx

  5. Evo says:

    Irene C. I am just a little worried about this. Are you ok with power and heat etc.

  6. jones2012 says:

    “The head of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said research hadn’t led to a direct correlation with the injections but officials wouldn’t gamble with public safety”

    I’d say they’ve already been rolling the dice for some time.

  7. So many have had dreams and visions of an earthquake along the New Madrid in the upcoming year. There are many false prophets out there these days, but there are also men and women who I’ve come to respect deeply who hearing the same thing from the Lord that it is coming. Praying for safety for those in that area of the country. How crazy it would be for the country to be literally split in two.

  8. elijahsmom3 says:

    Irene, did you feel it? Thinking about you.

    God Bless,
    Ronni

  9. JD says:

    Ok so about this earthquake on our news here in ohio they changed it saying the epi-center is now in the west side of youngstown. My question is why change the area and when are geologists ever wrong on pinpointing it? and also when does an earthquake make 2 sonic boom noises the 2nd one louder than the first?

  10. I felt it all the way to Painesville, OH

  11. Irene C says:

    Thank you everyone for your concern. My husband and were out having dinner. I didn’t even know this happened until someone sent me a text message asking if I felt the earth move. The Youngstown area is about 90 miles from me, and although I would probably have felt it had I been sitting at my computer, I didn’t feel it at the restaurant.

    Right now, the only thing we have going on is high wind and the snow is suppose to be coming in tonight. Power and heat is still on, although the lights did flicker once. I just pray it waits until supper’s done.

    As for this being caused by the injection of brine, there has been a lot of talk around here of our county becoming a storage area for brine. I am praying that does not happen. If they do approve the storage, I’m sure I will be feeling a lot more shaking around here. I have heard that they have discontinued the brine injections in the Youngstown area.

    Maranatha

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