The U.S. Geological Survey reported soon after the 9:42 a.m. incident that the tremor had a magnitude of 3.4 and its epicenter appeared to be in southern Jackson County near Oak Hill.
Authorities confirmed the tremor, lasting for only seconds, was felt more strongly from Oak Hill over to Vinton, and as far east in Gallia as Cheshire and Gallipolis. No damage reports had been received in Gallia or Jackson counties.
The USGS said the tremor’s distance was measured within 30 miles of Portsmouth, Ironton and Chillicothe.
Gallia 911 Director Steve Wilson said the impact was over as soon as it began.
“It’s like someone hit the building and it shook,” he said. “If you look at our tower camera, you can see it jog when it hit, but that was it.”
The emergency communications center then within a 30-minute period handled about 167 calls from all over the county, but most from the northern and western sections, Wilson said.
The volume of calls had trickled down by 11 a.m., he added.
Paul Harrison, chief operating officer for the University of Rio Grande, said one report of the campus being evacuated after the tremor was false.
Some people did exit Allen Hall, an administration building where Harrison’s office is located, and concerns were aired about a crack in the structure. A maintenance check showed the crack has existed for decades.
Some individuals reported a loud sound after the tremor, although that was not confirmed by authorities.
Such tremors, and sounds, are not uncommon in Ohio, but occur infrequently. For example, a booming sound was heard from Rio Grande to Vinton in late January following the ice storm that struck the area that week, although the cause remained unexplained.