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3rd earthquake reported near Florida; Space Coast 'rumble' still a mystery

Tremors rocked Orange, Brevard counties in 1973

ORLANDO, Fla. – The rattling continues. 

Seismologists said a third small earthquake happened Wednesday across the state line from the Panhandle area, even as questions continue about a mysterious rumble that rattled some homes across the Space Coast on Friday, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

The latest earthquake took place about 1:27 a.m. in Flomaton, Alabama, which sits along the state line, just north of the town of Century and 175 miles south of Montgomery.

The incident, a magnitude 2.3 earthquake, had a depth of about 3 miles and shook the small town Tuesday night, making it the third earthquake to be detected in the area in less than a week. A 3.1 magnitude earthquake hit near the same Alabama town on Monday. No damages were reported in either case.

Last week, a 2.7 tremor hit Century.

For residents on the Space Coast, news of the various temblors is bringing to mind a strange rumbling that shook portions of Merritt Island, Viera, Cocoa, and possibly as far away as Lake Mary, about 6 p.m. Friday.

The shaking was not strong enough to be picked up by the U.S. Geological Survey, the federal agency that monitors earthquakes worldwide. 

Earthquakes, however, are a rare occurrence in the Sunshine State, said seismologists who point out that Florida sits on a cushion of porous limestone and bedrock.

Florida is one of the least seismically active states, said Paul Earle, a seismologist with the USGS. Earle said whatever the rumble was that hit Brevard County likely did not originate in the ground. 

However, earthquakes have been reported in and around Central Florida, including tremors in 1973 that rocked Orange and Brevard counties. In 2016, a rare 3.7 magnitude earthquake happened off the coast of Daytona Beach, north of Brevard County. Authorities later determined the quake was not natural but instead triggered by U.S. Navy testing. 

But Space Coast residents, who were experiencing their second unusual event less than a month after some of them witnessed a large, greenish meteor streak across the night sky and explode over the Atlantic, still have some questions about what happened Friday. 

Valerie Citta was working at the Brevard County government complex in Viera when she and coworkers began feeling an intense rumbling sensation.

Like others living along the Space Coast — home to NASA and numerous rocket launches — Citta said coworkers thought for a moment that maybe they had missed a mission takeoff.

“But we knew there was no launch. It didn’t last for more than 20 seconds,” Citta said.

“All I could think was maybe there was some activity far away,” she said..

 


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