Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

October 27, 2012

Small quake measured in Olcott

Staff reports
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A small earthquake was recorded early Friday near Olcott.

The 2.5 magnitude temblor was detected about 4 miles east-northeast of the hamlet at 12:35 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

No property damage was reported, Niagara County Undersheriff Michael Filicetti said.

Around 12:45 a.m. Friday, the sheriff’s department fielded a number of 911 calls reporting a loud explosion, a house or windows shaking. The calls came mostly from Newfane, Olcott and Barker.

Filicetti said patrol deputies investigated and couldn’t find the source of the rattling. The department went so far as to call on the National Weather Service, Niagara Air Base, and local railroad and chemical companies and turned up no leads. The case wasn’t cracked until after 4:30 a.m., when U.S.G.S. posted a report on its website.

“At least we know what it is now,” Filicetti said. “It was a mystery.”

U.S.G.S. geophysicist Paul Caruso said a 2.5 magnitude earthquake is “very small, in the lower limits of what can be felt,” and likely would not cause any property damage.

The quake was measured 3.1 miles underground. The survey agency cannot tell whether it occurred underneath Lake Ontario or the shore, Caruso said.

There are several fault lines in the Western New York-southern Ontario region. U.S.G.S. says the region has experienced “moderately” frequent quakes at least since 1840, when the first one was reported. Most have not been of enough magnitude to cause damage.

Through its website, U.S.G.S. fielded reports of the Olcott quake from residents in Newfane to as far away as Buffalo and North Tonawanda, Caruso said.