It is surprising to many Ohioans that the state of Ohio has experienced more than 200 felt earthquakes since 1776, and that 15 of these events have caused minor to moderate damage. The largest historic earthquake centered in Ohio was in 1937 in Shelby County. This event, estimated to have had a magnitude of 5.4, caused considerable damage in Anna and several other western Ohio communities. At least 40 earthquakes have been felt in the Anna area since 1875.
Northeastern Ohio, east of Cleveland, has experienced many small earthquakes, including a 5.0 magnitude event in 1986 that caused moderate damage and a damaging 4.5 magnitude earthquake at Ashtabula in 2001. A broad area of southern Ohio has experienced more than 30 felt earthquakes.
Ohio is on the periphery of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, an area in Missouri and adjacent states that was the site of the largest earthquake sequence to occur in historical times in the continental United States.
Seismic risk in Ohio is difficult to evaluate and predict because of the unpredictability of earthquake activity. However, earthquake activity can occur in central Ohio.
Information courtesy of The Ohio Seismic Network
Simple Earthquake Precautions
- Bolt bookcases to the wall.
- Strap water heaters to the wall.
- Put latches or bolts on cabinet doors.
- Make sure mirrors, picture frames, and lamps are properly mounted.
- Maintain an emergency supply of canned food.
- Maintain an emergency supply of drinking water.
- Have a fire extinguisher for each floor of your home.
- Use flexible connectors for gas supply to gas fueled appliances.
- Consult your insurance agent about earthquake insurance.
- If you’re indoors, stay there but seek cover under an interior doorway or heavy desk or table. Avoid windows and outside doors.
- If you’re outside, stay there. Get away from buildings and watch for chimneys, overhead wires, poles or other objects that might fall.
- If you’re in a car, pull over and stop away from bridges and overpasses. Stay in the car and turn on the radio for information.