Commonwealth Journal

Local News

November 10, 2012

Quake rocks eastern Kentucky


Somerset —

There were no immediate reports of significant damage in Eastern Kentucky. 
An earthquake is caused by movement of the earth’s crust, usually along a fault line. 
Although Saturday’s quake was considered relatively minor, it didn’t downplay the response from Kentuckians — many of whom are more familiar with nature’s wrath through events such as tornadoes than through earthquakes.
CJ New Editor Jeff Neal was at home when the tremors hit, and he reported that he “felt it big time. (I) was standing in our room and it felt like the house tilted.”
Residents in Wayne, McCreary, Whitley, Knox, Laurel, Casey and Lincoln counties reported to the CJ that they’d felt the shaking as well.  
Although fewer earthquakes are reported east of the Rocky Mountains than in the western part of the country, the few that do occur in Kentucky historically occur toward the western part of the state near the Madrid Fault Line, which stretches from New Madrid, Missouri to the Southwestern U.S. 
Not this time, though, and there are reports that Saturday’s quake was the strongest to originate in Kentucky since a 5.2 quake that hit Bath County in 1980.
“The center was near my husband’s home growing up,” said Facebook user Sarah Cook on the CJ’s page. “I don’t ever remember an earthquake there.”
Cook said she was born in Letcher County. 
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the West, are typically felt over a much broader region. An earthquake east of the Rockies can be felt over an area as much as 10 times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. 
A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt in many places as far as 60 miles from where it occurred. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 300 miles from where it occurred.
Pulaski Countians in 2008 felt the remnants of a 5.2 earthquake centered in southeastern Illinois near the Indiana state line. The 2011 earthquake, measured at a 5.9, that rocked the east coast was felt in parts of Kentucky, but not in Pulaski County. 

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