The Herald, Sharon,
PA Published Sunday, Sept. 27, 1998


Seismologists await quake's aftershocks

By Erin Remai
Herald Staff Writer

Friday's earthquake wasn't enough to cause major damage in Mercer County, but it did enough to draw the attention of seismologists from different areas of the country.

Dr. Steve Horton and Debi Kilb from the University of Memphis arrived in town shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday to study the area and wait for possible aftershocks.

"We would have loved to have been here before it happened, but we don't know when they are going to occur," Ms. Kilb said. "Typically aftershocks will occur within the first 24 hours and can possibly extend longer. Our goal is to record the aftershocks."

Ms. Kilb and Horton placed three seismographs throughout the area: one in Greenville, one in Jamestown, and one just west of the Pennsylvania state line in Ohio.

"We've just been running around trying to get our instruments out," Ms. Kilb said. "We're still in the early stages of our study."

As of Saturday evening, no aftershock activity was reported.

Dr. J. Henry Barton, a geology professor at Thiel College, spent the day showing Ms. Kilb and Horton around the area.

Ron Cole, a geology professor at Allegheny College in Meadville said two faults lie in and around northwestern Pennsylvania. The Clarendon-Linden Fault in New York state last had a quake in 1929, one that was between a magnitude of 5 and 6.

"When you look at the probability maps for seismic activity, there is about a 10 percent probability there would be a similar activity along that fault every 50 years or so," Cole said. "If that is what it was, it is right on schedule."

The other fault is the Bass Island fault, he said.

Seismologists from the United States Geological Survey in Golden, Co., and from Columbia University in New York City were also in the area to monitor for possible aftershocks.

The quake began 3.1 miles beneath the earth's surface most likely in West Salem Township north of Greenville. It had a magnitude of 5.2. The 1994 Northridge earthquake that caused at least $20 billion in property damage had a magnitude of 6.7.

Ms. Kilb said while people should not spend all of their time worrying about future earthquakes, they should start thinking about preparing for them.

"People should be prepared, not scared," she said. "This should be a wake-up call for everyone to get an earthquake preparedness kit."

Back to

TOP // Herald Local news // Local news headlines // Herald Home page

CLICK HERE for a free 2-week trial of The Wall St. Journal Interactive Edition
Your message could be here. Contact

Updated Sept. 27, 1998
For info about advertising on our site or Web-page creation:
Copyright ©1998 The Sharon Herald Co. All rights reserved.
Reproduction or retransmission in any form is prohibited without our permission.