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Ohio rattled by 4.0 earthquake

Dec. 31, 2011 at 10:19 PM   |   Comments

AKRON, Ohio, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A 4.0-magnitude earthquake shook northeastern Ohio Saturday afternoon, seismologists said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 3:05 p.m. temblor was centered near Youngstown.

Barbara Forney, 79, told the Akron Beacon Journal the jolt from the quake toppled the Christmas tree in the living room of her Akron home.

"It was like someone pushed it down," she said.

The newspaper said state geologist Michael C. Hansen said the "pretty good-sized" quake was felt as far away as Michigan, Ontario, Pennsylvania and New York.

No injuries or major damage had been reported, he said.

The quake was the largest of 11 in the last eight months to have occurred within 2 miles of injection wells in Mahoning County used to dispose of brine wastes from gas and oil drilling, Hansen said. There is "little doubt" the quake is linked to 9,000-foot-deep wells the state and the owner, Northstar Disposal Services LLC and operated by D&K Energy Inc., agreed on Friday to shut down, he said.

There are 177 such wells being used in Ohio to permanently dispose of the brine wastes.

The newspaper said geologists have long suspected injecting liquids into underground rock formations can trigger earthquakes along fault lines. Earthquakes have been linked to injection wells in Arkansas, West Virginia, Colorado and Texas, the newspaper said.

Topics: Christmas
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