Historic Earthquakes

Northeast Kentucky, near Sharpsburg, Bath County
1980 07 27 18:52:21.4 UTC
Magnitude 5.2
Intensity VII

Largest Earthquake in Kentucky

This earthquake, the strongest in the history of Kentucky, was felt over all or parts of 15 States and in Ontario, Canada. Damage occurred in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.

Property damage was estimated at $1 million at Maysville, about 50 kilometers north of the epicenter, in Mason County, where 37 commercial structures and 269 private residences were damaged to some extent. Multistory all-brick structures in the downtown area, many of which were built in the mid-1800's, were affected the most. Broken chimneys represented the most common type of damage observed: several toppled or were broken at or near the roofline, some had bricks loosened or broken off their tops, and others sustained cracks of varying lengths and widths. This type of damage was a community-wide effect only in Maysville.

Cracks formed in the ground about 12 kilometers from the epicenter. East of the epicenter, at Owingsville, ground cracks were estimated to be 6 to 10 centimeters deep and 30 meters long. West of the epicenter, near Little Rock, ground cracks extending toward a cistern were observed on Stoner Road.

Abridged from Seismicity of the United States, 1568-1989 (Revised), by Carl W. Stover and Jerry L. Coffman, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1527, United States Government Printing Office, Washington: 1993.