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Rare 4.0 magnitude earthquake recorded off Florida coast

Earthquakes are rare in Florida, but on Wednesday night, dozens of people reported feeling its effects.

Imagery of a rare earthquake off Florida's coast is shown.
Scripps News West Palm Beach
SMS

A rare 4.0 magnitude earthquake was recorded off Florida's coast Wednesday night.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake was recorded about 100 miles off Cape Canaveral at 10:48 p.m., and data shows it occurred about 6 miles beneath the ocean floor.

The earthquake was felt in coastal communities along the Atlantic Ocean, from St. Augustine south to the Vero Beach area, but no serious injuries or damage were reported.

"Earthquakes in Florida are rare; they're not non-existent," USGS seismologist Paul Earle told Scripps News West Palm Beach.

Earle cited the 1879 north Florida earthquake that caused some minor damage, with reports of residents being awoken by falling objects in their home.

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"It's not very typical," he said. "Actually, most calls that we get for shaking turn out to be something else, like a sonic boom."

The scientist said there is a fault that exists, but seismologists don't know much about it.

"We just can't tell with small earthquakes like this," he said.

Earle said California, which has more earthquakes, has an early warning system to "tell people that shaking's coming a few seconds before," but the southern state likely won't have one any time soon if ever.

"These are very expensive systems, and Florida doesn't have a lot of earthquakes. So it may be a while until something like that is installed in Florida," he said.

This story was originally published by Peter Burke on Scripps News West Palm Beach.