1.8 magnitude earthquake felt in Lancaster County

A small earthquake in the Conestoga area of Lancaster County is the talk of the town.

Conestoga is pretty quiet most days. But between 9:02 and 9:03 Wednesday night, people who live in and around that community describe hearing a loud boom.

“I didn’t know it was an earthquake, just thought it was maybe a car crash or something,” said Amanda Lehman, a stylist at The House of Style on Main Street. “Or a tree falling.”

The 1.8 magnitude earthquake was a big topic of conversation at the salon. Customers who live nearby said their houses shook.

The House of Style salon is no stranger to earthquakes. The owner said an earthquake about five years ago caused a horizontal crack along the wall. She said a vertical crack branching from the previous one just showed up after Wednesday night’s earthquake.

“This is a pretty active area for the east,” said Dr. Charles Scharnberger, professor emeritus of Earth Sciences at Millersville University. “Lancaster County is the most seismically active county in Pennsylvania.”

Scharnberger has studied earthquakes at the university since installing a seismograph in 1973 to measure seismic activity.

With Lancaster County nowhere near any fault lines, scientists just can’t explain why earthquakes happen here, nor if this is the first in a series to come.

“Earthquakes in these midplate regions, like the eastern United States are really kind of a mystery,” Scharnberger said. “Nobody really understands why we have earthquakes here.”

Lehman said she has experienced two earthquakes in Lancaster County within the past five years, and she still finds them exciting.

“They were both small earthquakes, so I guess it’s not too bad, it could be worse,” she said with a laugh.

FOX43 viewers on Facebook share that they heard or felt the earthquake as far away as the Millersville area, Willow Street and Martic Township.

No one has reported injuries or damage to authorities and Dr. Scharnberger said an earthquake would have to register between a 4 or 5 on the Richter scale to cause any real damage.