Rare magnitude 4 earthquake recorded off Florida’s Space Coast late Wednesday

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — An earthquake was reported off Florida’s Space Coast late Wednesday night, according to data from the United States Geological Survey.


The USGS recorded the magnitude 4.0 quake at 10:48 p.m. Wednesday just over 100 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral at a depth of just over six miles beneath the ocean floor.

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More than 80 people have reported to the USGS that they felt the impact of the quake.

Earthquakes are a rare occurrence in Florida.

According to a USGS database, only two other earthquakes above magnitude 3.0 have ever been recorded near Florida’s east coast.

In 2001, a magnitude 3.3 earthquake was recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, 86 miles off the coast of St. Augustine Beach.

The only other report from the area on record with the USGS occurred on Halloween morning in 1900 when Jacksonville residents were jolted by a magnitude 3.5 earthquake centered in the Ribault River Preserve area.

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The only other reports of seismic activity off Florida’s east coast since 2001 were classified as “experimental explosions.”

Veteran freelance journalist Marie Savickas thinks she may have felt Wednesday night’s vibration.

“Initially, I thought the rocket had gone off and I missed the time or something,” Savickas recalled. “Then, when I looked outside and saw it wasn’t the rocket, I thought, maybe a truck’s going by?”

Science and Operations Officer for the National Weather Service in Melbourne, Matt Volkmer, says it’s the strongest earthquake recorded off Florida’s east coast in decades.

“We look back over the past 40 years, and this has been the strongest earthquake within about 150 miles of the east coast of Florida,” Volkmer said. “To see a 4.0, we’ve had some lower magnitude earthquakes, and the last major earthquake that was felt in the gulf or in the Atlantic near Florida was back in 2006.”

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The National Weather Service says that magnitude 5.9 earthquake, which was centered in the south central Gulf of Mexico, shook much of Central Florida. Wednesday night’s quake was far less intense.

“This one, we saw last evening, it wasn’t strong enough to generate any type of Tsunami,” Volkmer explained. ”There wasn’t enough movement of the ground underneath the ocean there to uplift anything, or shake to create a Tsunami.”

The National Weather Service shared that some residents in Brevard and Indian River Counties did report some very light shaking to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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