(TNS) — The United States Geological Survey has reported a 3.4 magnitude earthquake near Mifflintown on Wednesday night.
The earthquake was about 11 miles southwest of Mifflintown in Juniata County, according to USGS, and took place around 8:30 p.m.
According to social media posts, people heard or felt the quake in areas of Centre County including Ferguson Township, Boalsburg, Bellefonte and State College.
Andy Nyblade, professor of geosciences at Penn State, said he believes he heard and felt the quake from his home in State College. Nyblade is part of the team at the university that runs the Pennsylvania State Seismic Network. As soon as he thought he felt it, he got an alert from the system confirming the earthquake.
“It’s definitely an earthquake, which is quite unusual for this part of Pennsylvania,” he said.
The last magnitude-3 earthquake in central Pennsylvania was in 1991 in Centre Hall, he said.
At a magnitude of 3.4, Nyblade said the quake would have been strong enough for people to feel and to rattle houses throughout central Pennsylvania, including around the Harrisburg area. But structural damage isn’t typically seen with quakes less than a 4 magnitude.
There were news reports of the quake being felt as far south as Maryland.
At 23.6 kilometers deep, as recorded by the Pennsylvania State Seismic Network, the potential for structural damage is also decreased, Nyblade said.
Although 3.4-magnitude earthquakes aren’t often felt in central Pennsylvania, Nyblade said they do happen more frequently in the Lancaster-Reading area and around Lake Erie, near the Ohio border.
In fact, a 4.0-magnitude quake just shook the Cleveland area Monday.
Although Nyblade said it’s too early to tell exactly why an earthquake of this magnitude hit central Pennsylvania, his office will work to figure out more information on Thursday morning.