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Magnitude 3.0 Earthquake hits Gulf of Mexico New Orleans Region by Geologist Chris Landau

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Magnitude 3.0 Earthquake hits Gulf of Mexico New Orleans Region by Geologist Chris Landau

A magnitude 3.0 Earthquake has occurred yesterday, almost at midnight, 80 miles NW of New Orleans and 35 miles) NNE of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sunday, August 01, 2010 at 11:34:28 PM with an epicenter located at 30.873N, 90.874W. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 3.1 miles according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Infrequent earthquakes occur here. By the very nature of this being a shallow earthquake, it is probably related to oil drilling. Subsidence due to removal of oil and gas in the earth's crust is probably responsible for this event.

An alternate cause might be due to a fault that runs parallel to the famous New Madrid- St Lawrence River fault that triggered the largest historical earthquake to strike the continental United States. This happened in the winter of 1811 to 1812 along the New Madrid seismic zone, which stretches from just west of Memphis, Tenn., into southern Illinois.

There is a second large fault zone, which is traced out by the minor earthquakes occurring weekly as documented by the USGS. This fault zone lies parallel to and about 300 miles to the south east of The New Madrid Fault Zone.

The USGS presents an excellent summary of fault zones and earthquakes around the world. See their details below.

Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.





30.873N, 90.874W


5 km (3.1 miles) set by location program




55 km (35 miles) NNE of BATON ROUGE, Louisiana
55 km (35 miles) NW of Hammond, Louisiana
55 km (35 miles) SW of McComb, Mississippi
130 km (80 miles) NW of New Orleans, Louisiana

Location Uncertainty

horizontal +/- 19.6 km (12.2 miles); depth fixed by location program


NST= 7, Nph= 7, Dmin=153.2 km, Rmss=0.4 sec, Gp=198,
M-type="Nuttli" surface wave magnitude (mbLg), Version=6



Event ID


Earthquake Summary

Tectonic Summary. USGS History

Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the West, are typically felt over a much broader region. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 100 km (60 mi) from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi).

The link below shows Historical Information.

Earthquake Information for Louisiana (Historical Information)

The link below shows a location map for the earthquake.
Historical Seismicity

The link below shows the Google location for the earthquake.


Google Map

Do I think, this earthquake will affect the BP-Transocean-Halliburton-Anadarko-Mitsui Blowout Well? I do not. The distance of more than 120 miles from that location is too far away. I also do not think that the pressure building up in the formation in the capped well has caused this earthquake. But should earthquakes move into the Gulf itself to be close to the blowout well, then, I would have to agree that they are related. Do I think that this earthquake will cause damage to some local oil and gas wells? I am sure it will.

As I must present a well balanced article, I have presented the scientific view and now here is an alternate viewpoint to run with.

For the Conspiracy Theorists

Could someone have detonated a bomb at this depth of 3.1 miles in an oil well? The answer is yes. Do I think it happened? Who knows? For what purpose would they have done such a thing? Who knows?

I look forward to your comments, both for and against all viewpoints.

Chris Landau

August 2, 2010

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I was born in South Africa in 1958. I came to the USA with my wife and three daughters in 2003. We became US citizens in 2009 and 2010. My wife Susan is a Special Education English Teacher. She has a bachelor's degree in Micro anatomy and (more...)

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