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Why You May Not Have Felt the Earthquake

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

Are you wondering why you didn't feel the Oct. 16 earthquake? The earthquake was felt by some people in towns west of Boston, but not by others, even in the same town.

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. Martha's Vineyard Patch editor Mathea Morais did not feel the earthquake, while others in on the Island surely did.

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?

Dan Waters October 17, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Tonight around 5:25, many people around the Island thought there was an earthquake. Turns out it was a delta wing fighter jet (maybe more than one) off West Chop. Can you look into this, M.V. Patch, and get back to us? Thank you!!!
Mathea Morais (Editor) October 17, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Looking into it Dan. Heard them myself here. Stay tuned!
Sheryl Dagostino October 18, 2012 at 12:34 AM
That's what that was?! I look forward to a report Mathea!
Mathea Morais (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Didn't want you to think I was slacking. Still trying to find out. Sean Flynn, who is the airport manager at the MV airport, wasn't sure exactly what the jets were doing. He said from what he could see on the ground, they were in fact fighter jets and a refueler at a high altitude
Bloodyrue Andrue October 18, 2012 at 11:55 PM
I felt one about a week ago. I mentioned it to my wife, she didn't believe me. I feel them when they occur usually. I am wondering it that one went unreported or if it was a premonition on my part.

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