Ohio Geologist: 6.0 Quake Possible

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While California mostly likely comes to mind first when you think about earthquakes in the U.S., Ohio has its fair share – only less strong. Just Thursday night a town northwest of Findlay had one. WOSU reports it wouldn’t be improbable for earthquake-prone areas to experience one as high as six points on the Richter scale.

The earthquake that shook Fostoria near Findlay was mild, registering about 2.5 on the Richter scale. Mac Swinford, a geologist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said Columbus is relatively safe from even the smallest of quakes. He said the fault lines run in the northern and western parts of the state.

“The two hot areas for earthquakes in the state is up on Lake Erie around Paynesville. And the other area is known as the earthquake capital of Ohio, and that’s Anna, Ohio in Shelby County,” Swinford said.

In 1937, the state’s largest recorded earthquake, a 5.4, destroyed the high school in Anna. While the majority of the state’s earthquakes are relatively small, Swinford said it would not be out of the question for a larger one to occur.

“It’s not a stretch to think that a 6.0 could happen in the state. In a highly populated state, in a metropolitan area, if the epicenter was there, a six could do a lot of damage to infrastructure,” he said.

Swinford said Ohio averages about six earthquakes a year. But in 2006, there were about 16. So far this year, Ohio has had three. Swinford said it’s unknown why some years are more active than others.

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