Houston Community News >> Strong Earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico

9/10/2006 A strong earthquake rumbled in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday and was felt across the southeastern United States, the U.S. Geological Service said.

The quake, with a magnitude of 6.0, came from about 6.2 miles (10km) below the Gulf surface, about 250 miles (405 km) south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. The tremor hit at 10:56 a.m. EDT (1456 GMT) and was felt in parts of Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama. Media reports from Tampa, Florida, said residents reported feeling their buildings vibrate for up to 20 seconds.

USGS geophysicist Jessica Sigala said residents along the Gulf and as far north as northern Georgia reported feeling the ground shake but there were no reports of damage or casualties on land. Sigala said there also had been no reported damage to oil rigs in the Gulf.

The USGS said there was no danger of a tsunami. Quakes in the Gulf are infrequent and Sunday's was the largest of more than a dozen shocks that have been recorded in the area in the past 30 years.

Before the Sunday quake, the most recent in the area were a 5.2 tremor in February and a 4.4 in October 2003. Sigala said the quake area is not located on a geological fault but rather in the middle of the North American plate. The quakes could be caused by the release of long-term stress under the plate, she said.

(Contributed by Reuters)