Quake rocks county

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 23, 2004

A small-magnitude earthquake shook the outskirts of Helena and Alabaster over the weekend. No damage was reported. The quake occurred at 4:40 a.m. on Saturday.

Firefighters in Alabaster did not receive any calls.

On a U.S. Geological Survey map, the quake occurred almost exactly in the center of the state.

Butch Kinerney of the U.S. Geological Survey said the exact location was about 10 miles west of Alabaster.

Kinerney said the quake might have been felt within a 10- to 15-mile radius.

Since 1990, a total of 22 earthquakes have occurred in Alabama, according to the USGS.

Most were small and did not cause damage, according to Kinerney.

The last earthquake in Alabama was Oct. 17, 2003, about 26 miles northwest of Tuscaloosa, measuring 2.7.

Although Shelby County and the rest of the state lie in a low-risk earthquake area, a stronger quake last year was felt throughout the Southeast.

On April 29, 2003, a 4.6 magnitude quake eminating from the Fort Payne, Ala., area sent tremors all the way to Illinois, North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida.

Unlike the western United States, most fault lines which mark the borders of the Earth’s plates are invisible and un-named in the eastern part of the country.

Still, a small quake occurred Monday morning in New Jersey as well as the one over the weekend in Shelby County