Earthquake reported in central Pa. Wednesday |
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Megan Tomasic

A magnitude 3.4 earthquake hit central Pennsylvania Wednesday, but what residents felt probably seemed more like a truck passing by, officials from the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The earthquake, which rattled parts of Mifflintown in Juniata County around 8:30 p.m., was reportedly felt by residents across the state and into parts of Maryland. It was followed by a short aftershock, the agency reported.

According to USGS, however, what residents felt was between a II and III in intensity, usual intensity ratings for quakes with magnitudes between 3.0 and 3.9.

For people who reported the earthquake feeling closer to a II means it was probably felt by only a few people, particularly those on upper floors of buildings. Those who reported an intensity around a III might have felt it but did not recognize it to be an earthquake, the USGS said.

At that intensity, cars may slightly rock and vibrations are similar to a passing truck — how one York woman described the quake on a National Weather Service tweet about the event.

Other people commented on the post, confirming they both heard and felt the event.

The quake follows an estimated magnitude 4 that hit Monday just northeast of Cleveland in Lake Erie, the Associated Press reported.

Last September, AP said a 1.9 magnitude hit Pennsylvania near Shillington, Berks County, followed by a 1.7 magnitude quake in Mohnton almost two hours later. Officials at the time said earthquakes of magnitudes between 1.0 and 3.0 aren’t typically felt by residents.

The largest recorded earthquake in the state came in September 1998, when a 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit in the area of Pymatuning Lake, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The event caused minor structural damage but significantly effected the local groundwater system.

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake in central Virginia was felt in Pennsylvania in 2011, the agency said, the largest-recorded quake in central and eastern United States since 1944.

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