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Florida Panhandle shook by rare earthquake

The United States Geological Survey says earthquakes in Florida are rare because the state doesn’t sit near any tectonic plates.

CENTURY, Fla. — Officials say a rare earthquake has hit the Florida Panhandle, though it didn't pack much of a punch.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the magnitude 2.6 earthquake occurred late Wednesday night in Santa Rosa County, just south of the Alabama border.

Geologists say the earthquake was strong enough to be felt but too weak to do significant damage. More than a dozen people reported tremors to the USGS website.

Earthquakes are rare in Florida, which isn't located near the edges of any tectonic plates or fault lines. A magnitude 3.7 earthquake was recorded near Daytona Beach in 2016, but it was triggered by U.S. Navy testing that involved a man-made explosion. Before that, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake occurred in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico in 2006, but no major damage was reported.

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