While You Were Sleeping: Magnitude 3.0 Earthquake 80 Miles NW of New Orleans

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Magnitude 3.0 – LOUISIANA, USGS, August 2, 2010 at 4:34 UTC:

Earthquake Details * This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

Magnitude    3.0

Monday, August 02, 2010 at 04:34:28 UTC
Sunday, August 01, 2010 at 11:34:28 PM at epicenter

Location    30.873°N, 90.874°W
Depth    5 km (3.1 miles) set by location program
Region    LOUISIANA
Distances    55 km (35 miles) NNE of BATON ROUGE, Louisiana
130 km (80 miles) NW of New Orleans, Louisiana
Location Uncertainty    horizontal +/- 19.6 km (12.2 miles); depth fixed by location program

Is this significant? I have already seen posts by people who are alarmed given that this is a region in close proximity to the BP blowout. Let’s look at some of the facts before we panic.

90WAFB.com writes: Despite Lack of Headlines, Louisiana In Earthquake Zone This article last update May 24th, 2010 and it says:

Earthquakes have hit a wide geographic range around the state – covering southern, central and northern Louisiana. The largest occurred in Louisiana on Oct. 19, 1930, with the epicenter at Donaldsonville. It measured 4.2 on the Richter scale.

The earthquake was powerful enough to register on a seismograph in Washington , D.C. Donaldsonville, Napoleonville and Gonzales all had reports of significant infrastructure damage to brick chimneys and windows, according to the report. Baton Rouge and New Orleans also felt the quake.

The most recent earthquake in Louisiana occurred on Dec. 20, 2005, according to the United States Geological Survey. The quake had a 3.0 magnitude and reportedly was noticed in Baton Rouge, Hammond and New Orleans.

The seismicity of Louisiana from 1990 to 2006. Apparently there was an earthquake in that 16 year time period of about the same size and a bit south of the one that just happened.  It is the quake reference in the above quote that happened in 2005.

Although it is concerning with all of the information and disinformation about the blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, I am not as alarmed now that I have seen the history of earthquakes and the fault lines in Louisiana.

Depth is in kilometers.
Purple Triangles: Cities
Purple Star: Capital City
Circles: Earthquakes (color represents depth range)

Earthquake locations are from the USGS/NEIC PDE catalog.

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