An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.0 hit in Lake Erie, just off the shoreline of northeast Ohio, on Monday morning. the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed.

The quake was "minor" in scale and shallow in its depth, taking place about 5kilometers below the Earth's surface, said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist with the USGS.

A USGS graphic, "Did you feel it?," shows the quake's impact was felt mostly close to the shoreline. More than 3,600 people online reported feeling  the earthquake.

The "shake map" shows its effect felt on the Ohio side of Lake Erie. Some of it reached the Canadian portion but not land. Most of northeast Ohio felt it to Akron.

Earthquakes are caused by built-up stress in tectonic plates, Blakeman said. Ohio is not on a fault line; Monday's quake is an "intra-plate" earthquake, he said.

Because the earthquake took place so close to the surface, Blakeman said, people may have experienced items falling off shelves. But the magnitude of the earthquake is below what would cause structural damage, he said.

The temblor is the largest in the area in about the last 20 years, said, Yihe Huang, a University of Michigan geophysicist who has launched LEEP, a network of seismometers around Lake Erie to study earthquakes there.

 About 20 miles away from the site, a magnitude-5 earthquake hit the region in 1986, university officials said.

"I'm sure our seismometers detected this event, given its large magnitude. But we haven't retrieved the data yet," said Huang, an assistant professor in the UM Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. "The LEEP stations will probably give more details about the event and the fault where it occurred."

In April 2018, a magnitude 3.6 quake originated near Amherstburg, Ontario, just across the Detroit River, about 15.5 miles south of Detroit, according to the United States Geological Survey, and was felt at least 40 miles away in parts of Downriver and Dearborn.


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