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Weekend 'earthquake' off Daytona actually a Navy ship 'shock trial'

Published Jul. 19, 2016

Remember all that social media buzz over the weekend about an earthquake off the coast of Daytona Beach? Never mind.

It appears the "earthquake" detected Saturday by seismographs as far away as Venezuela was triggered by a man-made explosion designed to test the seaworthiness of a new Navy vessel.

A similar 3.7 magnitude "earthquake" was reported by the U.S. Geological Survey on June 10, 156 nautical miles east-northeast of Ormond-by-the-Sea. That was the same day the Navy reported conducting a shock trial on the USS Jackson, headquartered at Mayport for testing.

Shock trials test a ship's ability to withstand the effects of underwater explosions and remain seaworthy.

On Saturday, the Geological Survey again reported a 3.7 magnitude "earthquake" around 4 p.m. about 168 nautical miles east-northeast of Daytona Beach Shores.

The Navy had notified the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service that another shock trial was going to be conducted between July 16 and 20.

Asked about the reported earthquake on Monday, Dale Eng, a public information officer for the Navy's Sea Systems Command in Washington, said the Navy is working on a statement it expects to release this week.

Seismographs as far away as Minnesota, Texas and Oklahoma, as well as along the coast of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, registered the event on Saturday, said Bruce Presgrave, a geophysicist and shift supervisor at the Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center in California.

A large underwater explosion "would almost certainly be detected as an earthquake," he said.

The USS Jackson, commissioned last December, is one of the Navy's new Independence class of littoral combat ships, which will conduct antisubmarine, surface and mine countermeasure operations around the globe, the Navy has reported.

Following the shock trials, the Navy has stated, the Jackson will join sister ships in San Diego.

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