Mexicali earthquake detected in Rochester - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Steph Anderson

Mexicali earthquake detected in Rochester

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ROCHESTER, MN (KTTC-DT) -- Sunday's 7.2 magnitude earthquake near the California and Mexico border was felt as far away as Los Angeles, San Diego, and even Phoenix. It lit up seismographs, not just near the quake, but here at home.

Rochester Community and Technical College has a seismograph, and John Tacenelli, an Earth Science instructor there, says these are some of the biggest waves he's ever seen it pick up.

He showed us earlier Monday this actual data from the seismograph: each horizontal line represents an hour in the day; and the big, black spikes are the earthquake's waves as they jolted through the earth here. Those waves were so large they even go off the graph!

Dr. Tacenelli says these waves were even bigger than the ones RCTC's seismograph picked from the Haiti and Chile earthquakes, and location to the quake has a lot to do with that.

Dr. John Tacenelli says, "Haiti was about the same magnitude as this earthquake. 7.0 in Haiti, this was about a 7.2. But this one was closer, so the waves were just much, much bigger on our seismograph."

But if RCTC's seismograph picked up such high activity, why didn't we feel anything?

Dr. Tacenelli says even though the seismograph showed tremendous activity, you would have had to have been in the right place at the right time to have felt any shaking.

Dr. Tacenelli says, "The machine is very, very sensitive. And so, it can pick up a lot of vibrations you can't pick up. And so it's very unlikely anyone here would have picked up or felt those vibrations."

The quake was felt so far away because it was fairly shallow, or close, to the surface.

Also, loss of life and destruction wasn't as severe as the Haiti earthquake, because buildings are generally better engineered to withstand the all-too-common trembles.

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