Bedford County residents felt 2.3 magnitude quake
BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - Residents in Bedford County may have felt a bit of a rumble Wednesday night as a 2.3 magnitude earthquake shook the area.
“At first I thought I heard it more than I felt it,” says Goode resident Ronnie Hodges.
While scientists say the earthquake that hit Bedford County was minor, that doesn’t mean it didn’t shake things up.
“It sounded like a rumbling, but it wasn’t like a single bang; you could tell it was several bursts of energy, but they were spaced very close together,” recalls Hodges. “I at first thought maybe a tree had fallen and my wife maybe thought that it had fallen against the house.”
But the Hodges’ home, roughly 3,400 feet from the epicenter, was safe. Just a few photos on the wall were knocked crooked. Experts at Virginia Tech say these size quakes in Southwestern Virginia are not abnormal.
“Earthquakes in this region are not uncommon, they’re not very large,” says Ryan Pollyea, Associate Professor at Virginia Tech. “But it’s an ancient mountain belt that stress has accumulated on, that slowly releases earthquakes.”
They also believe Wednesday night’s rumble was natural, not caused by any outside force because of the nature of the lines on the seismograph.
But can one quake cause another?
“To make any kind of earthquake prediction is very, very difficult,” adds Pollyea.
“When there is an earthquake, it changes the stress field on the fault where the earthquake was released, but can it also transfer stress to other faults and potentially cause those to trigger. Now, with something as small as a 2.3, that is very unlikely to result in any kind of stress transfer to trigger another earthquake. The likelihood of another felt aftershock in a week, 2 weeks, is relatively small. You might expect another small earthquake like this in a year, two years, three years.”
A 2.2 magnitude earthquake was registered by the U.S. Geological Survey Wednesday evening. Initial reports started coming in shortly before 10:30 p.m. from those living near the epicenter. The small quake took place approximately 6 miles outside of the community of Forest in Bedford county. That’s between Bedford and Lynchburg.
“A big boom that shook the house,” commented Teresa Wood Cooke on Facebook. Her home was located very close to the epicenter near Forest.
While the small event wasn’t felt very far from the epicenter, it was detected on several seismographs, including ones on the campus of Virginia Tech, and even a personal sensor 150 miles away in Northern Virginia.
What’s interesting is I found out this is the second earthquake in a week in Central Virginia. A smaller, 1.9 magnitude quake took place on February 4th in Cumberland, Virginia.
View the Event Summary of the Feb 9th Bedford quake
Learn more about Virginia’s earthquake
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