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Quake Rattles Residents in Four States

September 7, 1988

Undated (AP) _ A moderate earthquake centered in eastern Kentucky shook homes and rattled residents in five states but caused no major damage or reports of injuries, officials say.

″It practically shook me out of the chair,″ Betty Raines of Huntington, Ohio, said after Tuesday night’s quake, which registered 4.5 on the Richter scale and was also felt in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The quake struck at 10:28 p.m. EDT, and was centered about 40 miles northeast of Lexington, Ky., and 65 miles southwest of Ashland, according to the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.

An aftershock was recorded a few minutes later, said Greg Steiner, technical director of the Center for Earthquake Research and Information at Memphis State University in Tennessee.

″It scared me to death,″ said Mary Welch, state Disaster and Emergency Services coordinator in Montgomery County, Ky., near the epicenter.

Ms. Welch said the reported damage included falling plaster at an apartment building in the county seat of Mount Sterling. Long-distance phone service was knocked out in parts of Mount Sterling.

Some phone service was lost in neighboring Bath County and a clock was ″knocked from my wall,″ said emergency coordinator Vernon Barber.

In Owingsville, the quake jarred an air conditioner out of a wall of the county jail, said Ronnie Beadle, deputy jailer and dispatcher.

Hundreds of Cincinnati residents jammed police switchboards to report the temblor, authorities said.

″We’ve had at least 500 people call in here,″ Richard Young, Hamilton County Communication Center supervisor in Cincinnati, said about an hour after the quake. ″Everybody and their aunt called in here to find out what happened or make sure we knew about it.″

″My door cracked open when it happened. I could hear it,″ said Kris Sommer, a resident of the Dayton, Ohio, suburb of Amberly.

The quake also was felt in Putnam County, W.Va., near Charleston, said Sheriff’s Deputy K.D. Watson.

″We got a couple of calls from people who said their houses were shaking, but one guy said his house shakes all the time,″ Watson said.

The region’s last strong quake occurred June 10, 1987, when a temblor registering 5.0 on the Richter scale shook residents in 16 states from Kansas to South Carolina and parts of Canada, breaking windows and tumbling chimneys.

That quake occurred along the New Madrid Fault, a 150-mile crack in the earth from northern Arkansas to southern Illinois.

Tuesday night’s quake was not related to that fault, but occurred in a region ″laced with fault lines″ covering part of Tennessee, southern Kentucky and Virginia, Steiner said.

An earthquake of 3.5 on the Richter scale can cause slight damage in the local area, 4 moderate damage, 5 considerable damage, 6 severe damage. A 7 reading is a ″major″ earthquake, capable of widespread heavy damage; 8 is a ″great″ quake, capable of tremendous damage.

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906, which occurred before the Richter scale was devised, has been estimated at 8.3 on the Richter scale.

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