Weather Blog: Earthquakes in Florida? Yes, it's happened

By Jamie Martin, Meteorologist
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 20, 2016, 7:02 PM EDT

Remember that 3.7 magnitude earthquake reported Saturday at about 4 p.m.? There were plenty of people taking to social media to give their opinions on why we had an earthquake in a very unlikely spot. Oil fracking in the Midwest was at the top of the list.

  • 3.7 magnitude earthquake reported off Daytona Beach
  • US Geological Survey said it was actually a US Navy test
  • Real earthquakes have been reported in Florida

Well, it turns out that it wasn’t an earthquake at all. It was the U.S. Navy.

It was actually an "experimental explosion" caused by the Navy, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Navy isn’t saying much, but these types of tests are used to study the structural integrity of naval vessels.

We do have earthquakes here in Florida, but they are few and very far between.

A temblor occurred near St. Augustine, in the northeast part of the state, in January 1879. People in the nation's oldest permanent settlement, founded by Spain in 1565, reported that heavy shaking knocked plaster from walls and articles from shelves. Similar effects were noted at what is now Daytona Beach, 50 miles south. At Tampa, the southernmost point of the felt area, the trembling was preceded by a rumbling sound at 11:30 p.m. Two shocks were reported in other areas, at 11:45 p.m. and 11:55 p.m. The tremor was felt through north and central Florida, and at Savannah, Georgia.

An earthquake felt by many Floridians occurred outside the state. It was the famous Charleston, South Carolina, shock in August 1886. The shock was felt throughout northern Florida, ringing church bells at St. Augustine and severely jolting other towns along that section of Florida's east coast. Jacksonville residents felt many of the strong aftershocks that occurred in September, October and November 1886.