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Quake in Gulf of Mexico sends out shock waves



Published: Mon, September 11, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- A magnitude 6.0 earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico sent shock waves through an area from Louisiana to southwest Florida on Sunday, but no damage was reported, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The earthquake, centered about 260 miles southwest of Tampa, was too small to trigger a tsunami or dangerous waves, the agency said. The USGS received almost 2,000 reports from people who felt the 10:56 a.m. quake.

Scientists said it was the largest and most widely felt of more than a dozen earthquakes recorded in the eastern Gulf of Mexico in the last 30 years.

"This is a fairly unique event," said Don Blakeman, an analyst with the National Earthquake Information Center who said the quake was unusually strong. "I wouldn't expect any substantial damage, but it is possible there will be some minor damage."

tion, which last for about 20 seconds, was felt on the gulf coast of Florida and in southern Georgia, Blakeman said. But residents in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana also called in reports.

Florida counties along the Gulf of Mexico called the state emergency operations center with reports of tremors but no damage was reported, spokesman Mike Stone said. Gov. Jeb Bush was informed of the situation, Stone said.

The epicenter is an unusual location for earthquake activity, but scientists recorded a magnitude 5.2 temblor in the same location Feb. 10.

"This kind of occurrence is unusual in that spot, especially for an earthquake of this size," Blakeman said of Sunday's quake.

The temblor was unusual because it was not centered on a known fault line. The "midplate" earthquake, deep under the gulf, was probably the result of stresses generated by the interaction of tectonic plates in the earth's crust, the agency said.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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