Wed August 24, 2011
UB earthquake researcher calls quake "significant"
By Mark Scott & Ashley Hassett
Amherst, NY – A top earthquake engineering expert at the University at Buffalo says yesterday's magnitude 5.8 tremor in Virginia is a "significant" event that will help engineers better understand earthquake patterns along the East Coast.
There have not been many earthquakes of this magnitude in eastern North America. The last one was a six magnitude quake in Quebec back in November 1988. This latest earthquake struck shortly before 2'o'clock Tuesday afternoon.
UB's Andre Filiatrault said it was felt here in Western New York.
Filiatrault is a professor of civil engineering and director of UB's MCEER -- the Multidiscplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. He said the quake is a reminder that seismic events like this can occur in our region.
Filiatrault warns an earthquake of a seven magnitude or more is possible, which could cause significant damage and possible loss of life.
Filiatrault said the East Coast has not seen a major earthquake since the 1700s. He says the past 100 years or so have been seismically quiet.
While Tuesday's event was moderate, Filiatrault says the data it generated will help earthquake engineers draw better seismic maps, helping to pinpoint where future earthquakes could occur.