Athens was rocking yesterday afternoon, and it had nothing to do with any on- or off-campus partying.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that a magnitude 3.5 earthquake shook Ohio University and other areas of southern Ohio at 12:59 p.m. The earthquake’s epicenter was almost 5 miles deep and about 2 1/2 miles east-southeast of Nelsonville in Athens County.
The agency’s website received reports of the tremor being felt principally in southern Ohio and into West Virginia, with some people in the Columbus area also reporting that they felt the shake.
There were no reports of damage. The Richter Scale, which is used to rate the intensity of earthquakes, indicates that a magnitude 3.5 earthquake is noticeable indoors but typically does not cause damage.
Carl Corvin, 71, was in his home in Jackson when his old Victorian house began shaking. “At first, I thought a car hit the house. I thought the thing was going to come down. It was one big jolt,” he said.
Ohio University students took to Twitter to discuss the unusual event.
One OU student asked Ryan Lombardi, vice president of student affairs, via Twitter whether students would be allowed to leave classes because of the quake.
“This is funny. Really. But no. Good try though :),” Lombardi replied.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s “did you feel it?” web page recorded the most responses from Athens and Nelsonville, followed by Lancaster and Logan. People reported feeling the quake in an area ranging from Delaware to Portsmouth to Zanesville.
The earthquake was the most powerful in Ohio since a magnitude 4.0 temblor centered at Youngstown occurred on Dec. 31, 2011, according to the Ohio Division of Natural Resources’ geological survey.
For Athens County, it was the most-powerful jolt that originated there since a magnitude 3.8 earthquake in 1886.
The last earthquake widely felt in Columbus, and most of Ohio, was on Aug. 23, 2011, when a magnitude 5.8 quake hit central Virginia.
Most earthquakes in Ohio are minor and pass without notice. Ohio’s last earthquake was magnitude 2.0 on Oct. 21, near Darbyville in Pickaway County. No one reported feeling it.
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