Around 8:51 PM Central Time on January 9, a strong earthquake struck the Caribbean Sea, near the coast of Honduras. This magnitude 7.6 earthquake not only could be felt along Honduras, but there were also reports of people feeling the quake in Belize and Mexico. While The Quad Cities is about 1,800 miles from the coast of Honduras, there was still evidence of the earthquake this far north!
Instruments called seismographs are able to detect earthquakes from around the world, and the one located at Erie Middle School in Erie, Illinois is no exception. Science teacher Karen Urick, who manages the school’s seismograph, told me it’s pretty much impossible that we could have felt this earthquake. The waves lose too much energy while traveling. However, seismographs are very sensitive, and they can detect motion from waves that have traveled deep within the Earth.
This image below (taken on January 10th) shows the past 24 hours of seismic activity from the Erie Middle School seismograph. It clearly picked up on the earthquake in the Caribbean Sea on January 9th. While we may not have been able to feel it ourselves, we have the tools to detect the motion of the Earth… even if we are thousands of miles away from an earthquake!
Meteorologist Taylor Graham