PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There were 11 earthquakes in eastern Ohio in 2011.

Most of them were not very powerful and caused little damage, but some people are asking about emergency plans if a major quake hits the area.

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The new phenomenon of earthquakes in eastern Ohio is puzzling many people.

Some geologists say that discarded brine used while drilling for natural gas is being injected near fault lines. It acts as a lubricant, inducing the earthquakes.

Emergency management officials in and near Youngstown say they have a general plan that covers any and all emergencies.

“Specific to that, earthquakes are so broad in category that we don’t have a one-on-one say do this, do this, do this. It falls under that emergency operations plan,” said Clark Jones, of the Mahoning County EMA.

Jones says officials near Youngstown worked together to create a checklist for earthquake preparedness.

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“It gives a general outline of what to do prior to earthquakes to be prepared for them if you’re in an area that’s prone to earthquakes, which we seem to be all of a sudden,” he said.

Officials say they have dealt with many different kinds of natural disasters, but never expected an earthquake like the one on New Year’s Eve. Their goal now is to better prepare in the future.

“So now, since Saturday, the fire department and myself and my fire officers are sitting down and we’re coming up… we have to come up with a preparedness plan. An earthquake specific disaster response plan for the Village,” said Chief Nick Kish, of the McDonald Village Fire Department.

Officials say they are monitoring the area carefully since Saturday’s earthquake, and although there’s no proof that fracking has anything to do with the earthquakes, they are also working with companies that are doing hydraulic fracking in the area.

“We have state meetings scheduled as soon as the 13th to make sure that our plans encompass everything,” Jones said.

The most powerful earthquake was on New Year’s Eve. It measured 4.0 in magnitude.

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Mahoning County EMA
Minor Earthquake Shakes Northeast Ohio