Ohio Earthquake Shakes Things Up

    November 20, 2013

A 3.5 magnitude earthquake shook Ohio today and alarmed residents. The earthquake took place near Nelsonville, Ohio, a small town just North of Athens and East of Columbus. It took place at 12:59 p.m. and was felt throughout southern Ohio and even in West Virginia. The earthquake’s epicenter was 4.9 miles deep about 2.5 miles east-southeast of Nelsonville.

There were no reports of injuries or damage caused by the earthquake. Earthquakes that measure a 3.5 on the Richter scale are usually small and although they can be felt indoors and over fairly large distances, they are not usually strong enough to cause any damage. The earthquake felt today was the most powerful in Ohio since a 4.0-magnitude temblor centered at Youngstown occurred on Dec. 31, 2011, according to the Ohio Division of Natural Resources’ geological survey.

Ohio doesn’t usually have to worry about earthquakes, and when they do happen, they are almost always relatively low on the Richter scale. After the quake, many people started looking for the cause of the quake. One popular theory is that water fracking could be causing the earthquakes that do occur in Ohio.

Water fracking is the process of pumping water into the ground to add pressure to walls, eventually causing cracks that allow natural gas to flow out of them. Youngstown, Ohio is the site of fracking used to expel gas from the Marcellus Shale, a geological formation rich in natural gas. Fracking is known to cause earthquakes and has been proven to be the cause of several in Oklahoma and the 2011 earthquake that struck Youngstown, Ohio.

Many experts argue that fracking does not cause earthquakes and that the areas where the earthquakes occur are positioned on fault lines. It has not been determined if the earthquake that struck Ohio today was caused by fracking.

Image from The Columbus Dispatch.