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Cleveland Area Hit By 4.2 Magnitude Earthquake

Erik Drost

Federal geologists say an earthquake with an estimated magnitude 4.2 has been detected just northeast of Cleveland in Lake Erie.

There were no reports immediately of damage, and the U.S. Geological Survey is collecting responses from people who felt the tremors. A magnitude 4 earthquake can cause moderate damage.

The 10:50 a.m. EDT Monday earthquake was placed some 2.5 miles north/northwest of Eastlake, a city of nearly 20,000 people. Fire Chief Ted Whittington said the quake lasted no longer than five seconds.

“So right now we’re kind of monitoring, because of the time of the day during the week we realize that there weren’t a lot of people at home when the quake actually happened," he said. "We’re running regular calls, so we’re doing our regular EMS and fire calls that we would normally see on a given day, so we’re just kind of at this point monitoring.”

Whittington said a 2.2 aftershock followed the initial quake, but no damage or injuries have been reported at this point.

The quake's effects were even caught on camera by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The nearby city of Mentor urged people to stop calling 911 unless they have an emergency because dispatchers were being "overwhelmed" by callers asking about the earthquake.

USGS says reports of those who felt the earth move came in from as far west as Toledo and as far east as Pittsburgh.

With an office in downtown Cleveland close to a massive construction project, Julia Zettl with the Association for Corporate Growth Cleveland is used to feeling what she calls "local percussion," even on the fourth floor. But this was different, she said.

"It’s different than rumbling, it was more like a rolling feeling. So that’s when I realized, 'Oh my God, that is absolutely an earthquake,'" Zettl said. “When a truck rolls by, the horizontal blinds will bounce. But in this case, they were shimmying back and forth and you could see the undulating wave motion.”

She, like many Clevelanders, immediately took to Twitter to confirm their suspicions.

"If it’s an isolated incident, then it was construction at the Statler Arms and we’re the only ones who are going to feel it" Zettl said. "But as soon as I saw #EarthquakeCleveland, you just started seeing it roll in on Twitter, I was like, okay, we’re not nuts, this is exactly what it was."

Andrew Nyblade, a professor in Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, said the northeastern Ohio region has a history of seismic activity. He said that includes past magnitude 4 earthquakes. The largest earthquake, magnitutde 4.8, caused damage in 1986.

David Williams is an intern at WKSU for summer 2019. A junior at Kent State, Williams is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism. Williams has reported for The Kent Stater, the university’s student-run newspaper, since spring 2018. His interests include history and politics.