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Derailment blast didn't register on earthquake monitors

By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun

12:20 PM EDT, May 29, 2013

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Though some compared the explosion that followed Tuesday's CSX train derailment in Rosedale to the earthquake that rattled the region in 2011, it did not register on U.S. Geological Survey monitors.

That is according to data from the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo. There was no sign of seismic activity in the Baltimore area around 2 p.m., when a freight train, carrying chemicals that later exploded, crashed into a truck.

The explosion sent a shock wave felt for miles across the region, breaking windows, knocking pictures off of walls and dropping ceiling tiles in areas closest to the blast.

Such incidents do not typically trigger signs of seismic activity, a USGS spokesman said. Such explosions typically travel through the air and not the ground, unless they occur in quarries or caves.

The Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake was rated a 5.8 and shook most strongly around its epicenter in central Virginia and along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, but was felt as far away as Georgia and Quebec.

Baltimore's Basilica of the Assumption required a $3 million restoration to repair damaged caused during the earthquake.

Businesses around the derailment and explosion were still surveying damage Wednesday.