A 5.2 earthquake occurred on July 27, 1980 near Sharpsburg in Bath County some 30 miles northeast of Lexington. This earthquake is believed to have originated along a buried ancient fault zone from an unmapped area of geologic stress and was, therefore, a geologic surprise. This quake caused $3 million in damages, mostly in Maysville, Kentucky, not Sharpsburg at the epicenter. In Maysville 269 homes and 37 businesses were damaged. We lived in Cynthiana at the time and our brick house shook for several minutes but did not suffer any damage. Scared the heck out of me and my family.
The responsible fault begins at the eastern edge of the Blue Grass Region, the Kentucky River Fault System runs East-Northeast toward the Morehead/ Ashland areas and into West Virginia. This fault system runs beneath the Clays Ferry Bridge at the 99-mile marker on I-75 at the Madison- Fayette County line, and is part of a larger fault system. The southern band of the Kentucky River Fault System is the Paint Creek Fault, which runs through Hazard and further south.
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