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A 4.0 earthquake rattles residents along Florida's east coast

Map shows the radius of an earthquake off the Florida east coast
US Geological Survey
Authorities are collecting reports from Floridians who felt shaking from a 4.0 magnitude earthquake on Feb. 7, 2024, about 100 miles east of Cape Canaveral.

It occurred about 100 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral. The last known earthquake in the state was in the Florida Panhandle in 2020.

Authorities are collecting reports from Floridians who felt shaking from a 4.0 magnitude earthquake off the east coast, the National Weather Service reported.

The earthquake happened shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of Cape Canaveral, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

More than 100 people reported feeling the quake, which occurred at a depth of six miles off the coast.

No serious damage or injuries were reported, authorities said.

It took place just hours before the launch of the SpaceX Pace satellite, NASA’s newest climate satellite that will survey the world’s oceans and atmosphere on a three-year mission.

The survey reports the last known earthquake took place in 2020 in the Panhandle town of Jay, just south of the Alabama border.

Earthquakes are relatively rare in Florida and off the Florida coast, experts say.

“It's a stable region,” said Paul Earle, a seismologist with the USGS. “That being said, as we just learned, it does have earthquakes but much rarer than in other areas.”

In September 2006, a 5.9 magnitude quake in the Gulf of Mexico was felt in Florida and other states.

In parts of Florida, items were knocked from shelves and some Floridians saw waves in their swimming pools during the 2006 quake, according to reports from the USGS.

That earthquake was felt all over Florida, and even in several other southern states including Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and the Carolinas.

In 1879, an earthquake in north Florida — believed to be among the strongest in the state’s history — jolted residents awake and knocked kitchen items off of their shelves, according to an account from the University of Florida.

The USGS sometimes gets reports of earthquakes that are later determined to be sonic booms or military testing, Earle said. Most indicators point to Wednesday's earthquake as being a natural earthquake, he said.

WUSF staff writer Carl Lisciandrello contributed to this report.