Small 1.7-magnitude aftershock follows Friday’s quake in Baltimore

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a minor aftershock to Friday’s 2.6-magnitude earthquake just before 2 a.m. Sunday in Baltimore.

The aftershock, which registered at 1.7, had an epicenter close to the Edmondson Village Shopping Center in West Baltimore, according to USGS.


Neither quake was significant, and neither left behind any noteworthy damage or injuries. A 5.3 on the scale is considered a moderate earthquake, and a 6.3 is strong, according to the USGS website.

“These little ones like this are just a very quick jolt,” said Don Blakeman, geophysicist with USGS. “The 1.7 — if it turns out to have been felt, and it’s possible — it’d just be by people very close to where it happened.”


It’s possible a few small aftershocks could be in Baltimore’s future, but Sunday’s quake also could be the end of the story, Blakeman said.

“There could be a couple others here,” Blakeman said. “A lot of times you’ll get small quakes like this and we’ll have maybe three or four of them and we just call it a swarm, basically because there’s no real big aftershock. There’s no way to predict if there will be another one or not.”

Plenty of people felt Friday afternoon’s quake, which had an epicenter near the Lorraine Park Cemetery in Woodlawn. In a library, a music store, a consignment shop and in homes across the area, people peered outside for clues to describe the clamor. Often, an earthquake wasn’t the first explanation to come to mind. Many thought a particularly loud truck had passed by, or an object had fallen from a high perch.

But it’s likely fewer people felt Sunday’s tremor at 1:53 a.m., not least because it happened in the middle of the night.

“I think about earthquakes like throwing a rock out into a lake, and if you throw a little rock the ripples don’t go very far. You throw big rock, they go further,” Blakeman said. “It’s the same way with earthquakes.”