October 21, 2014

Earthquake last night was centered near Wymore, minor damage

An earthquake rattled parts of southeast Nebraska late last night.

Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado, says the quake measured 2.9 on the Richter scale and struck just before midnight, centered near the town of Wymore.

Caruso says, “We have reports that it was felt throughout the area in Beatrice, Blue Springs, Lincoln and of course, in Wymore.”

The quake hit at 11:56 PM and was centered six miles east of Wymore and about 48 miles south of Lincoln. Caruso says whether or not people felt the earthquake is dependent on the type of soil, the magnitude and depth of the quake.

“It sounds like in this quake, people felt a little bit of shaking, maybe they saw their chandeliers swinging back and forth but we wouldn’t expect to see any major damage or anything from a quake this small,” he says.

Caruso says earthquakes are rare in Nebraska. The biggest recorded quake in state history happened in the Columbus area.

That quake struck on November 15th, 1877, and it was a magnitude 5.1, based on how far away it was felt. He says that quake caused some damage in Platte County.

Caruso says a quake usually has to reach about 5 to 5.5 on the Richter scale to do significant structural damage and cause casualties.

In this latest quake, dispatchers in Beatrice got about 30 calls from people who felt it. Gage County emergency management coordinator Mark Meints says he felt his house shake for a few seconds.

“We had a few reports of some things happening, minor things in houses, things off the walls and a set of shower doors came off in the shower stall,” Meints says. “Had quite a few people report that they felt it and didn’t know for sure what was going on.”

The experts say this quake was at a depth of 3.1 miles.

By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice