BY RACHEL KONOPACKI
The large bump or rumble Tuesday morning felt by people in the Bel Air area has been declared an earthquake.
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in Palisades, N.Y., confirmed Thursday the rumble that was felt and heard around 10 a.m. Tuesday in central and northern Harford was an earthquake that occurred three miles below the surface and had a magnitude of 1.6.
The epicenter of the earthquake was about a mile and a quarter north of Hickory, just west of Route 543 and south of Deer Creek.
Mitchell Gold, a seismologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, had initially said an earthquake did not occur. There was some early thought the rumble might be related to testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, but post officials said no testing had been going on at that time.
“It was initially not thought to be an earthquake because the signals were very small,” Gold said Thursday, adding he didn’t receive any word from the Maryland Geological Survey that people had felt the rumble.
Upon further review and the discovery that people had not only heard the rumbling, but felt it too, it was determined the rumbling could have been an earthquake.
Gold said small events are hard to locate, so when it was discovered people spanning a few miles had felt the rumble, he knew the activity that occurred was more than just a local blast or explosion.
Around midnight last Dec. 27, an earthquake with a Richter magnitude of 3.4 occurred in southeastern Pennsylvania in the Lancaster seismic zone, close enough for the quake to be felt in parts of Northern Harford, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, whose spokesman said at the time the quake was minor and lasted only a few seconds. No damage was reported; however, several people said their homes shook briefly.