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Small earthquakes shake up central Maine

Four minor earthquakes jostled the earth under central Maine on Sunday.

One quake, which measured 1.0 on the Richter scale, occurred at 4:42 p.m.; the second happened at 11:46 p.m. and measured 1.4. The quakes were detected near the small towns of  Millinocket, Lincoln, and Howland.

Two other weaker quakes of less than 1.0-magnitude were also recorded in the area, said Justin Starr, a research assistant at the Weston Observatory.

Starr said it was likely no one felt the quakes. “If you were standing right over the epicenter, you might hear a low rumbling noise,” he said.

Starr noted that there is debate among scientists about what causes earthquakes of this size in the region, but he said it may be a result of movement in the Mid-Atlantic ridge, the area where two tectonic plates meet in the middle of the ocean.


The earthquakes are “way too small to cause any sort of damage,” he said.

Michelle Tanguay, the director of Penobscot County Emergency Management Agency and a county resident, said, “I didn’t even realize we had an earthquake until I looked at the USGS site.”

The earthquakes were located in an extensive forest area in the Central Penobscot region.

The observatory, a geophysical observatory run by Boston College, operates the New England Seismic Network, which monitors earthquakes across New England.

Alli Knothe can be reached at aknothe@globe.com.