Did today's East Coast affect caves or create new sinks?

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Did today's East Coast affect caves or create new sinks?

Postby Bumbalawski » Aug 23, 2011 7:38 pm

Was the earthquake today on the east coast of the U.S. capable of creating new sinks, sinkholes or affecting existing caves? I am in SW Pennsylvania and will be looking around in the next few weeks for any changes. What are your thoughts on this? And has anyone on the board ever been in a cave when an earthquake occured?

Thanks,
Don
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Re: Did today's East Coast affect caves or create new sinks?

Postby nathanroser » Aug 23, 2011 7:40 pm

It cracked some of the stone in the National Cathedral in D.C., so there's probably some new fractures in the rock that'll be caves in many thousands of years.
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Re: Did today's East Coast affect caves or create new sinks?

Postby Phil Winkler » Aug 23, 2011 7:54 pm

The geology of the east coast is far different then the west. Think of our area as a single, large plate where the west coast is made up of many, smaller plates. Their plates can all shift in different directions at the same time. Our single plate just tilts one way or the other, might ripple a bit and that's that. Most reactors, etc. are built in the east to withstand a 6.2 earthquake. We just came pretty close to that. I think new sinkholes, cave breakdown, etc. are fairly unlikely. YMMV, of course.
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Re: Did today's East Coast affect caves or create new sinks?

Postby Bumbalawski » Aug 26, 2011 8:32 am

There is an underground mine drainage tunnel in our area, the Hoffman Tunnel. It normal spews orange colored water, but the water mixes shortly after with Braddock Run and clears up. Then Braddock Run enters Will's Creek. The water is always clear when it enters Will's Creek. Since the earthquake, the water from Hoffman Tunnel, Braddock Run and about a 1/2 mile portion of Will's Creek are now orange. The issuance from Hoffman Tunnel is extemely orange. It would be safe to say that there was some disturbance in the Georges Creek mining area (abandoned underground mines of yesteryear) from which the Hoffman Tunnel is fed. These areas are in Western Maryalnd. There is no surface mining drainage entering this tunnel.

Also, there was a group of cavers (underground at the time of the earthquake) in Burnsville Cove. They were about 80 miles from the epicenter. They did not even know there was an earthquake.
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Re: Did today's East Coast affect caves or create new sinks?

Postby Chads93GT » Aug 26, 2011 12:34 pm

Normally you wont know there is an earthquake if you are in a cave as the shockwave travels on the surface, just like waves in the ocean. massive waves can roll over the top of you while you are under water and you will never know it. Old timers in my area who have been underground when earthquakes hit the area years ago said the same thing, you can't feel them. The only indication on one instance was the water in a massive lake ripples and sloshed up against the wall while they were near. After they got out they heard on the news an earthquake hit. This was in the 1960s
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Re: Did today's East Coast affect caves or create new sinks?

Postby dfcaver » Aug 15, 2012 5:44 am

This topic came up at our last grotto meeting. We have two instances of rock fall in Huntingdon County, both near the the entrances of the caves, that were noticed on trips following the quake. No one was in either cave at the time of the earthquake, so I can't say for sure that the rock fall and quake are related, but the falls came in areas that were thought of as stable. So the answer would be "maybe". The shaking actually caused a couple of higher buildings in Blair County to be briefly evacuated, about 30 miles further west than Huntingdon county, and the epicenter of the quake.
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