Earthquake in Gulf of Mexico sends shockwaves from Florida to Louisiana
By PHIL DAVIS
Associated Press Writer
Posted September 10 2006, 2:47 PM EDT
TAMPA, Fla.--A strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday sent shockwaves from Louisiana to southwest Florida, but no damage was reported, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The earthquake, centered about 260 miles southwest of Tampa, was too small to trigger tsunami danger or other dangerous wave activity, the agency said. The USGS received almost 2,000 reports from people who felt the 10:56 a.m. earthquake.
Scientists said it was the largest and most widely felt of more than a dozen earthquakes recorded in the eastern Gulf of Mexico in the last 30 years.
``This is a fairly unique event. There is no danger,'' said Don Blakeman, an earthquake analyst with the National Earthquake Information Center. ``I wouldn't expect any substantial damage, but it is possible there will be some minor damage.''
Florida counties called the state emergency operations center with reports of tremors, but no damage was reported, spokesman Mike Stone said. Gov. Jeb Bush was informed of the situation, Stone said.
The epicenter is an unusual location for earthquake activity, but scientists recorded a magnitude 5.2 temblor in the same location on Feb. 10.
``Technically, it's not Florida,'' Blakeman said of Sunday's earthquake. ``It's out in the Gulf of Mexico. This kind of occurrence is unusual in that spot, especially for an earthquake of this size.''
The quake was unusual because it was not centered on a known fault line. The ``midplate'' earthquake, deep under the gulf, was probably the result of stresses generated the interaction of distant tectonic plates in the earth's crust, the agency said.
The most prevalent vibration, which last for about 20 seconds, was felt on the gulf coast of Florida and in southern Georgia, Blakeman said. But residents in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana also called in reports.
Only one of Florida's rare earthquakes caused significant damage. In January 1879, St. Augustine residents reported heavy shaking that knocked plaster off the walls.
The most recent temblor, in November 1952, prompted a resident of Quincy to report the shaking ``interfered with the writing of a parking ticket,'' the USGS said.