Florida

Rare Florida earthquake has magnitude of only 2.6, but it shakes up the Panhandle

Northern Florida experienced a small — but rare — earthquake late Wednesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The earthquake, measuring 2.6 on the Richter scale, took place about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, near a small town called Century, just south of the Alabama state line in the western Florida Panhandle. No damage or injuries were reported.

According to the Florida Geological Survey, earthquakes in Florida are less common, but still possible.

“Florida is located on a passive continental margin, which means that there are no tectonic plate boundaries nearby that can cause earthquakes, however, earthquakes sometimes occur in areas close enough to be felt,” the Florida Geological Survey wrote in 2016. The agency noted that distant earthquakes, volcanoes or underground rock collapses could cause Florida to feel residual tremors.

The Richter scale measures the amount of energy an earthquake releases. Most have less than a magnitude of 3 on the Richter scale and aren’t even felt by humans.

The Florida Geological Survey collects, archives, interprets and distributes geologic information for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Monique O. Madan covers immigration and enterprise; she previously covered breaking news and local government. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and The Dallas Morning News. She is currently a 2018-2019 Reveal Fellow at the Center for Investigative Reporting. She graduated from Miami Dade College and Emerson College in Boston.

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