Earthquakes in Ohio

Are earthquakes possible in Ohio?

The visual of an earthquake can make anyone shake in their boots.

Images of mass destruction from earthquakes and active seismic activity have been seen on a regular basis, but here in the Miami Valley, earthquakes are not the norm…or are they?

Ohio has been a location of reoccurring seismic activity due to its numerous fault lines and underground rock formations. In recent years’ earthquakes have rattled the eastern portion of the country and Ohioans have felt the shocks.

Dr. David Miller, professor of geology at Clark State Community College, says due to the numerous faults, tectonic activity, and rock formation underneath Ohio, its not a matter of “if” Ohio will feel a moderate earthquake, but of “when.” “If you are in your twenties today, you will feel a significant earthquake in your lifetime, if you stick around in the Midwest, due to the New Madrid fault system that runs through Memphis, Tennessee and up to St. Louis,” Miller said. “The second risk will be some of the smaller faults that we have in Ohio.”

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Miller oversees the OhioSeis seismograph station located at Clark State Community College, one of 29 seismograph stations within the state.

The New Madrid Fault line earthquakes, which occurred during 1811 - 1812, registered between 8 and 8.8 on the Richter scale, was felt 2 million square miles away, including the entire state of Ohio.

The biggest fault adjustment came in 1937, when a 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck near Anna. While no serious injuries were reported, many buildings were damaged and some too damaged to repair.

Springfield’s current building codes do not include earthquake prevention, but they do account for high winds. This is consistant with other cities in non-active seismic zones.

>>READ MORE: How did residents describe feeling an earthquake in 2010

With the amount of seismic activity within Ohio, Miller also showed concern about a lack of preparation and awareness Ohioans have in case of a large earthquake to hit this area. “As a society, we are unprepared for natural disasters. Even though earthquakes are not frequent in this area, we need to include earthquake drills within our schools and businesses, because a moderate earthquake can happen.”

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