January 17, 2000 Earthquake in Western Maine

Weston Observatory reports that an earthquake occurred at 3:16:20 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday, January 17, 2000, in the Rumford area, Maine. It was felt in Oxford and Franklin Counties.

The following parameters have been calculated for the earthquake:

Magnitude 3.4 (calculation after Nuttli, 1973)
Location 44.57 North latitude, 70.44 West longitude
Depth 16.3 kilometers
This places the epicenter about 6 miles (10 kilometers) east of Rumford, in Dixfield, Maine.

Further Information:

A press release from the Reuters news service reported the earthquake, citing information sources at the U.S. Geological Survey.

Monday January 17 6:33 AM ET

Minor Quake Rocks Maine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A minor earthquake measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale shook west-central Maine early on Monday, but there were no reports of damage, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter of the quake, which struck at 3:16 a.m. EST, was about 40 miles northwest of Augusta, Maine, near the town of Rumford, said Diane Noserale, a spokeswoman for the USGS. The temblor was felt in Oxford and Franklin Counties.

Noserale said the USGS had no reports of damage. Earthquakes of magnitude 3-3.9 are generally no more severe than the vibrations from a passing truck and may only be noticed by people who are resting.

The quake was the third in Maine in less than a month. A tremor measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale hit the Lewiston area southwest of Augusta on Jan. 3, and a smaller quake measuring 2.9 shook the Dexter area in the central part of the state on Dec. 24.

A map showing this event was posted as a "News Flash" on the New England Seismic Network web site of MIT. The preliminary location was given as 3 miles north of Dixfield, close to the final location calculated by Weston Observatory.

Published News Reports:

News report:

"Once again, state shakes, rattles" by Kathryn Skelton, Lewiston Sun Journal, January 18, 2000.

News report available through Bangor Daily News:

"Recent quakes seen as typical" by Rich Hewitt, Bangor Daily News, February 1, 2000.


Nuttli, Otto W., 1973: "The Mississippi Valley Earthquakes of 1811 and 1812; Intensities, Ground Motion, and Magnitudes," Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 63, No.1, p. 227-248.

Last updated on April 27, 2012