A series of earthquakes continue to shake Lake Erie just northeast of Cleveland, Ohio, generating dozens of reports by local residents that have been reporting ongoing shaking to authorities. In the last 40 days, there have been 5 earthquakes of magnitude 1.6 to 2.5 not far from the towns of Timberlake, Willowick, and Lakeline in Ohio, all clustered just off-shore in the southeastern portion of the Great Lake.
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes by surface area, but holds the smallest volume of any lake. While it is the most shallow of the Great Lakes, it does have some deep locations; the deepest point is more than 200 feet deep. While the deepest point of the Lake Erie is in the northeastern part of the lake not far from Niagara Falls, this latest earthquake activity has been centered beneath a relatively shallow area of the lake with depths of less than 40 feet.
The earthquakes striking Lake Erie have been roughly 2 miles off-shore and have been centered about 3 miles deep.
Unlike active fault zones in the western United States, Ohio is only home to ancient faults, also known as magnetic faults, that could occasionally move from time to time. USGS cautions that it’s very rare for there to be a significant earthquake there to cause damage, but say a damaging earthquake is within the realm of possibilities.
The area experiencing earthquakes now may be experiencing aftershocks of a much larger earthquake that struck in 2019. On June 11, 2019, a 4.0 magnitude earthquake rattled southeastern Michigan, northern Ohio, and portions of western Pennsylvania.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources reports that there have been more than 200 earthquakes with epicenters around Ohio since 1776. Most of those earthquakes over time have struck in the area seeing seismic activity now.
There have been no reports of any damage or injuries from these earthquakes. The earthquakes have also been too weak to generate any kind of tsunami in the Great Lakes.