Fifth earthquake recorded in Madison County

Earthquake recorded in Madison County

MADISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - You may have felt the ground shake overnight in the Madison area. It was a 2.8 magnitude earthquake and the epicenter was recorded just off Yandell Road.

It’s the fifth time since 2015 that an earthquake has been measured in Madison County. Before that, there were none recorded.

It was 2:33 in the morning when most were likely sound asleep. Some people said they did first hear a boom before feeling the shake. The state’s geologist says there’s a reason for that.

“There are three waves generated by an earthquake when a fault moves," explained State Geologist of Missisissppi and Director of the Mississippi Office of Geology David Dockery. "A shallow earthquake when it hits the surface can turn the surface into the surface of a boom box. And boom. You hear the boom and then the ground shakes.”

And that kind of shallow fault is what MDEQ now knows is below the surface in Madison County. A search for answers after the 2015 earthquakes in the county led them to that discovery.

“We had a confidentiality agreement where we could look at some seismic, 3D seismic and we’ve been able to identify those faults where those earthquakes occurred in 2015," said Dockery. "So, they’re not mapped but we know they’re there.”

A 2.8 magnitude quake may not sound like a lot, but the depth of the fault can impact how much you feel it below you. And they say it’s shallow faults that they’ve located in that area.

“It’s closer to the surface," Dockery described. "So, if you have a 3.2 earthquake and you’re right above it, all the punch of that earthquake comes up to the surface. A deeper fault, it gets muffled on the way up.”

But now that they’ve seen the more detailed seismic information, they feel confident saying there’s not cause for concern.

“We don’t expect a large earthquake to happen on these faults," Dockery noted. "And so since there was a series of four earlier, I would expect there might be some more this time.”

Click HERE for a fact sheet about the history of Mississippi earthquakes.

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