A moderate earthquake struck the off-shore waters of the central Florida Coast, with more than 150 people reporting ground shaking in Florida. While the magnitude 4.0 event was strong for the area, it was moderate in the scheme of overall earthquakes and not strong enough to create a tsunami threat for Florida or the U.S. East Coast.
According to USGS, the earthquake struck at 10:58 pm last night about 100 miles due east of Cape Canaveral, Florida. The earthquake had a depth of 10 km.
SpaceX and NASA had warned that a rocket launch tied to their PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) Earth-observing satellite could create sonic booms around the Florida Space Coast. However, that rocket launch and subsequent return of its first stage booster, all occurred after the earthquake at 1:33 am this morning.
The epicenter of this earthquake was not in an area of known seismic activity and USGS could not confirm why or how it occurred.
This latest earthquake isn’t too far from another suspicious earthquake that struck the waters off the U.S. east coast last year. On April 23, a 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck, also at a depth of 10 km, about 600 miles southeast of New York City and 600 miles northeast of Jacksonville, Florida.
There have been no earthquakes of any magnitude in either of these areas in the 30 days prior to the quake and epicenters were located in the middle of the North American Basin, far from the Mid Atlantic Ridge that splits the Atlantic Ocean to the east that tends to see regular seismic activity.
In August 2021, there was also a moderate earthquake detected off the Florida coast. However, that was related to the “shock trial testing” of a new military ship. That testing lead seismographs to capture a 3.9 magnitude event.
In 1879, a strong earthquake struck north Florida. According to the University of Florida, that quake, which is believed to be among the strongest in the state’s history, jolted residents awake and knocked household items off of their shelves.