A 3.7 magnitude earthquake hit off the east coast of Florida

The United States Geological Survey reported a Magnitude 3.7 earthquake 90nm off Daytona Beach on Saturday afternoon. Everyone has responded the same upon hearing this news -- What? An earthquake in, off, or anywhere near Florida? Well, you might be even more surprised to learn there was a similar event recorded just over a month ago, on June 10th, 85nm off Flagler Beach.

If you live on Florida's East Coast, no need to add more natural disaster coverage to your homeowner's policy, both recent 'earthquakes' have been explained as anything but 'earthy.' Both events have been classified as 'Experimental Explosion' by the USGS, believed to be shock tests conducted on a new US Navy ship.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported on Monday afternoon that both believed earthquakes were actually triggered by explosives used by the US Navy to test a new combat ship, the USS Jackson. Sound travels well in the ocean, allowing the large explosion to register as a seismic event at stations across the Southeast US and into the Central Plains. Another test on the ship is planned according to the ship's manufacturer, so we're likely to see another 'quake' in Florida waters.

Seismic activity isn't completely unheard of in Florida, but it is rather rare, and typically of the weaker variety. According to the USGS, only one earthquake resulted in any damage for Florida in the past 200 years. And that was only minor damage, over 125 years ago in January 1879, in St. Augustine and Daytona Beach. You can see all of the activity over the past 50+ years on the image and note that two of three points off the northeast coast are now known to be man-made. The third was a M3.3 from June 2001 - kinda makes you wonder about this one too considering how similar of an event. The USGS has a full list of Florida earthquakes from 1729 to 1981 here.

Anytime there is a strange or unexplained event off Florida's East Coast, and especially off Daytona Beach, coast, memories are stirred from one of the most unique events to ever occur along the US East Coast. In fact, an earthquake, underwater landslide, or military testing is exactly what many 'old salts' think caused a 12 to 18ft rogue wave to come ashore in Daytona Beach around 11pm on the night of July 4th, 1992. It was later discovered that a "shallow-water gravity wave forced by a propagating squall line" generated a wave the reached from Ormond to New Smyrna Beach with an 18ft peak. Many still don't buy this scientific explanation, and love any new evidence of earth-shifting or military-shaking to explain that freak wave of the 90's.

Daytona Beach News-Journal