Why You May Not Have Felt the Earthquake

The Oct. 16 earthquake was felt by some, but not others.

Are you wondering why you didn't feel the Oct. 16 earthquake? The earthquake was felt by some people in Rhode Island but not by others, even in the same town.

Earthquake shaking tends to be amplified in areas where there are soft soil conditions, according John Ebel, the director of the Weston Observatory, which studies and monitors earthquakes. If you live near a landfill, you will likely feel shaking more strongly than if you live on rock formations, Ebel said.

Also, some buildings have a stronger tendency to shake more than others, Ebel said. For example, some residents near the Virginia earthquake in 2011 felt the tremors, while others did not, he said.

Ebel spoke to Patch in the wake of the earthquake, after Twitter and Facebook lit up with users who reported feeling the tremors, while others did not. Some in Newport reported feeling the earthquake, while others in town didn't. 

We asked our fans on Facebook if they felt the quake and were met with mixed reactions:

Susan A. Green: Yes! Felt it in Newport. Thought it was the wind shaking the building but was more severe than the most severe winter storm winds- Only realized what I felt after seeing so many posts about it.
Julie Mott: The earthquake was clearly much less exciting than the MHS Homecoming dance! I think I prefer the earthquake!
Diane Estrella: when did this happen??? I'm just now hearing about this. I am in Newport and I didnt feel anything.... Kinda scary last year the end of august there were those earthquakes going on in VA that were felt up most of the east coast. Now this one happening North of us and being felt here.
Nicole Nicas Rovner I didn't feel anything.

According to Ebel, human sensitivity to tremors is another factor that determines whether they will feel earthquake termors. Humans have a natural sensitivity to feeling vibrations, but some are more sensitive than others, he said.

Ebel said the earthquake's final magnitude was 4.0, and the quake originated near Hollis, Maine. Ebel called it a "mild to moderate" tremor for New England. Earthquakes greater than a 4.0 magnitude occur every five to eight years, he said. The last earthquake above 4.0 in New England was in Bar Harbor, Maine, in 2006, he said.

Did you feel it? Tell us in the comments! 


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