Wed, 14 Dec 2011 08:24 CST
The central coast of Maine was hit by two small earthquakes at nearly the same moment Monday night.
The earthquakes, which measured 2.3 and 1.9 on the Richter scale, occurred about a second apart, at 11:41 p.m. The epicenters were about 4 miles apart in an area of Hancock County near Ellsworth and Searsport, according to a preliminary earthquake report released by the United States Geological Survey.
More than 25 people have logged on to the USGS website so far to say they felt the quakes. Four reports came from the town of Blue Hill, where one epicenter was located. Ten reports came from the town of Sedgewick, the second epicenter.
"I thought a big giant tree had crashed into my house," said Shari Whelan, a resident of Sedgewick who works as a general manager at the Barncastle Hotel and Restaurant in Blue Hill. Whelan said she was watching television when the house began to shake and she heard a "boom," that sounded like thunder.
The two quakes were the third and fourth recorded in the state in two days.
On Sunday afternoon and night, quakes measuring 1.0 and 1.4 on the Richter scale, respectively, were recorded in central Maine about 80 miles away.
"This area of Maine does get a lot of earthquakes," said Justin Starr, a research assistant at the Weston Observatory, the Boston College geophysical observatory. He said he didn't know why there has been a flurry of activity in the area.