Tri-City Ledger -

By Joe Thomas
Ledger Editor 

Earthquakes still rumbling across area

Geologist reprts show 13 quakes occured near Flomaton, Jay, Century since March 7

 

April 18, 2019

Officials with the Geological Survey of Alabama say they are still gathering data to determine the causes and reasons for 13 earthquakes that have occurred since March 7 in the Flomaton, Pollard, Century and Jay areas which include five quakes that occurred between last Thursday and Sunday.

According to data collected by the GSA the following earthquakes in the area have occurred since March 7: March 7, 2.7 magnitude; March 11, 3.1; March 12, 2.3; March 13, 2.2; March 24, 2.7; March 27, 2.1; March 27, 1.6; March 27, (uncalculated magnitude), April 11, 2.3; April 11, 2.8; April 11, 3.2; April 12, 2.2; April 13, 2.2.

Sandy Ebersole, geologic investigations program director for the Geological Survey of Alabama, said the recent earthquake activity is what prompted the GSA and researchers from the University of Memphis to install four temporary U.S. Geological Survey seismic stations in the area of the seismic swarm last month. Two of the stations were placed in Florida and two were placed in Alabama near the state line.

“These seismometers will collect seismic data for three to six months in order to gather more detailed analyses of the earthquake locations, depths, magnitudes and specific fault,” Ebersole said. “Each station has a broadband sensor and strong motion sensor, and the real time feed from these stations can be accessed.”

People wanting to access the data can go to http:/folkworm.ceri.memphis.edu/heli_temp/. The Alabama sensors include S1AL HHZ, S1AL HNZ, S2AL HHZ and S2AL HNZ.

Ebersole said the most frequently asked question is whether or not the earthquakes are related to oil and gas activity in the area. She said there is no data to support oil and gas activity is responsible.

“Location does not equal causation,” she said.

She said to answer the question, the GSA needs to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.

She said while seismic readings are in real time, data from the State Oil and Gas Board of Alabama is not delivered in real time and it may take months to compare the seismic data to the oil and gas exploration data.

Ebersole said once the data is received from the oil and gas board it will be compared to the timing and magnitude of the earthquakes in the area.

Ebersole said earthquakes are simply movement across a fault and can be caused by a lot of things such as natural pressure and water.

She said the magnitude scale to measure earthquakes goes from 0.1 to 10 but only records sudden shifts. Gradual shifts are not considered earthquakes.

She also said the new temporary seismic stations installed have been doing their job to identify small earthquakes that weren't being detected before.

An interactive map of the earthquakes in the area can be accessed at

https://arcg.is/1WjbHy

 
 

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