Indiana Earthquake: ‘Extremely Rare’ Says Researchers

Filed in Gather News Channel by on December 30, 2010 0 Comments

An Indiana earthquake rocked the northern parts of the state Thursday morning, prompting widespread fear that a major explosion had taken place. Although the state has a fault line running through it, seismic activity on any scale is extremely rare, giving rise to the notion that our planet is aging.


Details of the Tremor in Indiana

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), an earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter magnitude scale, occurred without warning early Thursday during rush-hour traffic.  The puzzling quake, later downsized to 3.8 on the seismographic scale, was thought to have originated about 5 miles below the surface of Greentown in Howard County, approximately 50 miles due north of Indianapolis.  Can you imagine what would have occurred if the quake had taken place closer to the surface?

Although the Indiana earthquake was felt as far away as Ohio, Kentucky, and Wisconsin, there were no reports of injuries or structural damage.  Still, a tremor of any magnitude is enough to raise red flags in the scope of science.  It is clearly an isolated, rare, and unprecedented event, according to Michael Hamburger, who said that the area where the earthquake occurred is historically “very quiet”.  This latest anomaly in science and weather patterns underscores the importance of funding more research into the future of our planet as it gets older and settles.

Indiana Earthquake – What Did it Feel Like?

According to a witness who was sitting on her porch when it took place this morning, the momentary shaking caused her home to shake and rattle for about 5 to 7 seconds. Others described it as a loud boom followed by rumbling.  Scientists say that the magnitude of the quake this morning was tantamount to a loaded truck passing by.

The familiar Richter magnitude scale or simply Richter scale was created in 1935 by Charles Richter.  Unlike the Fujita scale that is used to measure tornado strength, the Richter scale only measures energy and amplitude.  Experts believe the Indiana earthquake felt more like a slight tremor with no resulting measurable damage.  Still, it puzzles experts why it occurred in the state.

Composite Image of a Chart and a Richter Scale

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