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Why You May Not Have Felt the Oct. 16 Earthquake

The Oct. 16 earthquake was felt by some, but not others.

Are you wondering why you didn't feel the Oct. 16 earthquake, but some of your Medford neighbors did?

Earthquake shaking tends to be amplified in areas where there are soft soil conditions, according John Ebel, the director of the Weston Observatory, which studies and monitors earthquakes. If you live near a landfill, you will likely feel shaking more strongly than if you live on rock formations, Ebel said.

Also, some buildings have a stronger tendency to shake more than others, Ebel said. For example, some residents near the Virginia earthquake in 2011 felt the tremors, while others did not, he said.

Ebel spoke to Patch in the wake of the earthquake, after Twitter and Facebook lit up with users who reported feeling the tremors, while others did not. Waltham Patch editor Ryan Grannan-Doll did not feel the earthquake, while others in Waltham did. The same was true in Wayland, where the earthquake was felt by some people, but not all.

Human sensitivity to tremors is another factor that determines whether they will feel earthquake termors, Ebel said. Humans have a natural sensitivity to feeling vibrations, but some are more sensitive than others, Ebel said. 

Ebel said the earthquake's final magnitude was 4.0, and the quake originated near Hollis, Maine. Ebel called it a "mild to moderate" tremor for New England. Earthquakes greater than a 4.0 magnitude occur every five to eight years, he said. The last earthquake above 4.0 in New England was in Bar Harbor, Maine, in 2006, he said.

When was the last time you felt an earthquake?

Upset October 18, 2012 at 07:32 PM
You think I got time to read the "USGS" reports on my computer while there a LIVE EARTHQUAKE IN MEDFORD ?! I ONLY GOT DSL ,NOT FiOS ,BUT I WON'T PUT MONEY AND TAXES ON THE FiOS !! ANOTHER THING, I WILL DRIVE AWAY WITH THE ELECTRIC CAR ,BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE TIME TO FILL UP THE "HIGH PRICE" GAS INTO MY TANK AT THE GAS STATION ,NOT ONLY THAT IT DANGER TO FILL UPTHE TANK ,THERE COULD BE A "FIREBALL" AT THE GAS STATION!!!
Alicia Hunt October 19, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Thank you for providing some insight into the discrepancies between why some people felt the earthquake and others did not. For those of us who are not used to earthquakes, it is a very intriguing phenomena. I had assumed that the people who hadn't felt it were all doing things like driving or exercising!

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