Minor Earthquake Strikes Below Lake Erie
Map of earthquake location today (July 1, 2013) below Lake Erie.
Credit: USGS.

An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 3.6 struck early today beneath Lake Erie, just outside of Cleveland, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The temblor's epicenter was 4 miles (6 km) northwest of Fairport Harbor, Ohio. It originated 3.7 miles (6 km) deep and struck at 3:48 a.m. local time (07:48 UTC), the USGS reports.

Some light shaking was felt in coastal towns just northeast of Cleveland, but no damages were reported, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Damaging earthquakes are rare in the region. The largest temblor on record in the Northeast Ohio seismic zone struck in 1986 with a magnitude of 4.8, according to the USGS. That quake, which caused minor property damage and a few injuries, was felt over a wide area from Illinois to New York.

Earthquakes like the one that struck today are considered minor and typically don't cause any harm. But the damage caused by any single event depends on the quake's depth, proximity to populated areas, building standards in the region, as well as the type of earthquake. The USGS frequently updates the magnitude of an event after more data is analyzed.

An earthquake's magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the source. It is just one predictor of the shaking that may ensue, which is affected by local and regional geology. Scientists know in a general sense what causes Earthquakes but are unable to predict specific quakes.

This article will be updated if significant additional information becomes available. Find more earthquake news here.