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Explanations East Coast Quake: ‘More Bang for the Buck’ Saul Loeb / Getty Images

East Coast Quake: ‘More Bang for the Buck’

The West Coast should cut back on its jokes about wimpy East Coasters’ handling of the 5.8-magnitude earthquake, geologists said Tuesday. Not only does the East Coast not often experience earthquakes, but the ground is older, colder, and more intact than the West Coast and its infamous Ring of Fire. East Coast quakes “tend to be more bang for the buck as far as shaking goes,” said Virginia Tech geology professor James Spotila. Another large difference: earthquakes normally occur on fault lines when the earth’s plates shift, but Tuesday’s thrust earthquake was far from the edge of a plate on an unknown fault—and no fault ruptured, meaning scientists are unlikely to ever get to the bottom of the quake.

August 23, 2011 11:08 PM