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Pitt Geophysicist Analyzes Pittsburgh’s Earthquake

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(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you were sitting down, the earthquake that shook the Pittsburgh area was hard to miss.

“The earthquake shaking in our area lasted maybe about 20 seconds or so and there was really no danger to people, but it was definitely noticeable,” Pitt Geophysicist Bill Harbert said.

The University of Pittsburgh seismographs at the Allegheny Observatory in Riverview Park noticed the earth’s movement in a big way.

While the public may have only felt it for 20 seconds, it was still registering on the seismograph a half hour later.

“Definitely felt the building swaying around,” Louis Coban said. “You could hear things kind of creaking a little bit and like a low rumble, so it shook us up pretty good.”

“It occurred in what’s called the Central Virginia Seismic Zone and there hadn’t been an earthquake in that area since the 1800’s believe it or not,” Harbert explained. “So it was a very rare event.”

It released the energy equivalent of 11 kilotons of dynamite.

Harbert says officially, the U.S. Geological Survey says the impact in our area would have been minimal, but he was impressed by the trembler.

“For the Pittsburgh area, this was a real earthquake,” he said. “This was real seismic energy and who knows when it will be repeated – maybe not in our lifetimes.”

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