Historic Earthquakes

Northeast Ohio
1986 01 31 16:46:42.3 UTC
Magnitude 5.0
Intensity VI

This earthquake caused minor property damage in several towns in northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania; 17 people were injured in the epicentral area.

Most of the damage to houses and commercial buildings occurred in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Trumbull, and Wood Counties in Ohio and Crawford and Erie Counties in Pennsylvania. It mainly included fallen ceilings and plaster; cracked chimneys, foundations, and brick walls; and broken windows and underground pipes. Changes in the flow of water were observed in more that a dozen wells in Lake and Geauga Counties, east of Cleveland. The changes included variations (starting, stopping) in the flow of water and sediment deposits in water. In Leroy Township, a small pond was formed from the flow of a new artesian well. Another artesian well suddenly began feeding water to an old water trough.

Over the next 2 months, 13 aftershocks of magnitude 0.5 to 2.4 were recorded on the area, and 13 more aftershocks of about magnitude 1.0 were detected through April 15, 1987. The main earthquake was felt over a large area of the Eastern United States, covering all or parts of eight States (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia) and Ontario, Canada. It also was reported by people on the top floors of multistory buildings in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as Washington, D.C.

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.