August 23, 2011

Earthquake Affects Western Pennsylvania on August 23, 2011



ON AUGUST 23, 2011

      It was been a quiet day in…Laurel Mountain Borough, Pennsylvania.

     That is, until 3:18 p. m., the telephone roused me from my afternoon rest time.

     It was my sister Nancy in Lancaster, New York, a suburb of Buffalo.  She had just received word that her oldest daughter in Spotsylvania, Virginia, had just been a victim of an earthquake that occurred just before 2:00 p. m. Debbie’s house had things shattered all over it.

     She lived, as I learned, close by the epicenter of the 5.9 (Richter scale) earthquake.

     While talking with Nancy a call bleeped in. I told Nancy I would call her right back. The call was from my friend Fran, who lives forty miles west of me.

     Did I know, had I heard, about the earthquake? she asked.

     I told her I had just talked to my sister, that’s all I knew.

     Jim (her husband) was (more…)

March 14, 2010

Earthquakes in (Southwestern) Pennsylvania



     Pennsylvania: the Quaker state.

     Earthquakes shaking Southwestern Pennsylvania? Is this the source of its second most common nickname, the Quaker State?

     One of the above statements is true: earthquakes do occur in Southwestern Pennsylvania. However, the nickname “Quaker State” originates from the fact that the state’s founder, William Penn, belonged to a religious sect known as Quakers.

     Although earthquakes occur far less frequently in Southwestern Pennsylvania than they do in California, they do occur. Forty-five earthquakes have been recorded in Pennsylvania since 1900,*** some originating in the east, others in the west.

     Eastern originating earthquakes include (more…)

January 22, 2010

Earthquakes in Maine?



     On January 12,2010, Haiti was hit with a devastating earthquake that measured 7.0 on the Richter Scale. It was followed by some one hundred aftershocks, the worst of which, registered 6.1 and occurred on January 21.          Amidst the reports of the tragedy, I pondered what earthquake risks existed where I currently live: Southwestern Pennsylvania. I have a faint recall of minor tremors occurring one time while living in Slippery Rock (between 1969-1982). In 1998, while living in New Castle, a 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit Western Pennsylvania*. Of this, I recall people telling of their china closets and windows rattling.    Between fall 2006 and spring 2007, a sequence of earthquakes took place near the town of Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island on the coast of Maine**. We were traveling along our typical coastal route between Newport, Rhode Island and Lamoine Beach, Maine. I was a little bit nervous about it, but we went anyway. Below is the journal entry I wrote about being there at that time. 

     October 10, 2006: from the Ellsworth Public Library, in Ellsworth, Maine.

     Although I really wanted to travel to Lamoine, Maine, this visit was filled with trepidation and apprehension.

     While in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a town we always visited during our New England travels because it was my childhood hometown, my husband and I heard rumblings on news reports about an earthquake on Mount Desert Island—the location of Bar Harbor. The island is just across the Narrows, the strip of water separating Mount Desert Island from Maine’s mainland. Lamoine Beach, our final destination, is on the eastern end of the Narrows, where it borders onto Frenchman Bay.

     I thought about the California folks who routinely experience earthquakes, then about the Maine people for whom the natural phenomenon is not common. It couldn’t have been anything to be concerned about. There were no news reports about further earthquake events that (more…)

Blog at