Discover the Ohio Town Most Likely to Experience an Earthquake

Ohio oh a US state map, the major cities marked
Alexander Lukatskiy/

Written by Hailey Pruett

Updated: July 5, 2023

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Earthquakes can devastate entire communities and ecosystems, and some unfortunate areas are more likely to experience them than others. Although Ohio doesn’t seem like it would be particularly earthquake-prone, a few of its cities are especially at risk of experiencing these fearsome natural disasters. Below, we’ll take a look at the Ohio town most likely to experience an earthquake, what its earthquake index score means for its inhabitants and local wildlife, and some interesting facts about the area’s history and background.

Anna: Ohio’s Most Earthquake-Prone Town

The town most likely to experience an earthquake in Ohio is the cozy, rural village of Anna, located in Shelby County, which is situated near the state’s northwestern corner. Its population was 1,470 as of the 2020 census.

With an 8.83 earthquake index score, Anna is by far the most earthquake-prone town in Buckeye State. Only a handful of other Ohio towns even exceed a 2.0 on the earthquake index, with the vast majority of the state having an average of 0.2 or less. Overall, Ohio is one of the safer US states from earthquakes–it ranks 33 of 50 and has a statewide average earthquake index of just 0.16.

According to a United States Geological Survey report that recorded earthquakes in Ohio from 1776 to 2007, the entire state has experienced around 160 earthquakes large enough for residents to notice and feel. Fortunately, the majority of these geological events caused no damage or injuries. At least 16 of them, though, caused major property damage and injuries.

Notably, Ohio’s largest and most severe earthquake in recorded history occurred in 1937. It had a magnitude of 5.4 on the Richter scale, and it primarily affected the town of Anna and its surrounding areas. In general, western Ohio is far more earthquake-prone than the eastern half of the state. This is primarily due to several major fault lines running through the area, along with a 500-foot-deep rift zone.

Ohio oh a US state map, the major cities marked

Ohio’s most earthquake-prone town is the village of Anna, located around an hour outside of Van Wert.

What Does Anna, Ohio’s Earthquake Index Score Mean?

As we touched on earlier, an earthquake index score is essentially a number that represents a community’s overall risk of experiencing an earthquake compared to the rest of the United States. To put it as simply as possible: the higher the score, the higher the risk. 

For reference, the state with the highest overall earthquake index score is California, with a state average of 21.80. Just behind California is Hawaii with a score of 13.37. At the other end of the spectrum, there are three states in a tie for the lowest score, 0.00: Wisconsin, Iowa, and North Dakota. Another two states, Minnesota and Florida, have scores of just 0.01. Generally, states with fewer fault lines and rift zones are less likely to experience earthquakes, as there is less seismic activity to trigger them.

With Ohio having a state average of 0.16, its overall earthquake risk is very low. However, because the western half of the state lies atop numerous fault lines and a massive rift zone, a handful of towns have especially high scores that exceed 3.0: Cleveland, Newburgh Heights, Kettlersville, Botkins, and Anna, all of which have locations near those aforementioned fault lines. Anna and Botkins have especially high scores of 8.83 and 8.79, respectively.

Earthquake - Seismic Meter

Unlike the Richter Scale, which measures actual seismic activity with a seismometer, the Earthquake Index Score ranks an area’s likelihood to experience an earthquake compared to the rest of the United States.

Interesting Facts About and History of Anna, Ohio

Now that we have a better understanding of Ohio’s earthquakes, which areas are most likely to experience them, and how the earthquake index works, let’s take a moment to explore the village of Anna’s background and demographics. Despite being one of Ohio’s smallest towns with a population of just under 1,500, it has a rich and fascinating history.

Before Anna was claimed by French explorers in the late 1600s, the area was primarily settled and owned by Shawnee and Miami Native Americans. When French explorers attempted to take over the territory, British settlers in the area disputed this, arguing they had claimed the region years before the French settlers’ arrival. This dispute was one of the main factors that kickstarted the French and Indian War. The war lasted from around 1754 to 1763.

Eventually, the Treaty of Paris ended the war, and the British gained control of Anna and its surrounding area. Over time, settlements arose across northern and western Ohio. The state was officially admitted to the union in 1803. The village of Anna was first designed in 1858 by early settler J.W. Carey, a contractor who bought more than 1,000 acres of land in western Ohio.

Although the village was originally named Carey’s Station, Carey renamed it, Anna, in honor of his daughter. In its early years, grain and lumber were the two primary industries that supported the town. A sawmill was built in 1861, leading to a massive economic boom and an increase in development. By 1867, Ohio’s government had officially recognized and incorporated the town.

Anna, Ohio was officially incorporated in 1867, 64 years after Ohio was officially admitted to the union in 1803.

Anna, Ohio’s Demographics at a Glance

Today, Anna’s modest population of around 1,500 consists of 551 families and 429 households. Its population density is roughly 1,326 people per square mile. Its racial makeup is approximately 97% white, 0.4% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% residents of other races, and 0.1% belonging to two or more races.

The median age of Anna’s residents is 31.1 years old. The largest age demographic group is 18 years old or younger and makes up around 33% of its total population. Another 7% are 18 to 24 years old, 30% are 25 to 44 years old, 22% are 45 to 64 years old, and just over 7% are 65 or older. The town’s gender distribution is roughly 48.4% male and 51.6% female.

The median income in Anna is around $55,000 per household. Meanwhile, its average income per family is around $59,000. The average size of an Anna household is 2.84, with the average family size being 3.2.

Wildlife in Anna, Ohio, and How Earthquakes Affect Them

Next, we’ll take a closer look at some of Anna, Ohio’s wildlife and how earthquakes might affect them. We’ll examine three unique species–a mammal, a bird, and a fish–that are especially common throughout the Anna, Ohio region and western Ohio in general.

1. Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

Native to the vast majority of eastern North America, the eastern gray squirrel is also one of Anna, Ohio’s most common rodents. When Ohio was originally settled, the species was one of the most populous throughout the state. These particular squirrels were so abundant and bothersome that Ohio residents had to turn in a certain number of squirrel skins along with their tax payments each year.

Over time, as much of Ohio’s land was cleared for development, the gray squirrel’s numbers began to drop drastically. By the late 1800s, the government passed laws restricting gray squirrel hunting to prevent the species from extinction. 

Fortunately, the species is thriving today, and their keen senses help protect them from incoming storms and disasters like western Ohio’s frequent earthquakes. They’re even more skilled at detecting and evading seismic activity than humans!

Eastern Gray Squirrel

The Eastern gray squirrel is one of Ohio’s most abundant rodents.

2. American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

One of Ohio’s most common bird species is the American robin, a medium-sized thrush species belonging to the taxonomic family Turdidae. It is easily recognizable thanks to its auburn-toned chest which contrasts its mostly gray and black plumage. Although they are most abundant and active during the spring, they reside in Ohio throughout the year, with many overwintering in the southern half of the state.

Similar to the gray squirrel, the American robin is also a pro at detecting natural disasters. Like most bird species, it can sense even the most subtle shifts in ions and electrons in the air. This allows robins to evade Ohio’s earthquakes well before we humans are ever able to detect their presence. 

Still, earthquakes can cause significant damage to their nests. Earthquakes are especially dangerous for very young robin hatchlings who are unable to flee from the intense seismic activity.

American robin perched on a branchThe Robin is center frame., looking left. The bird has a rust-colored body, and medium brown wings and darker fromn head. indistinct green background.

Like most birds, robins are especially adept at detecting Ohio’s earthquakes long before humans are aware of them.

3. Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

The rainbow trout is one of Ohio’s most common and visually striking fish species. However, they aren’t native to the state–they were introduced to the area in the late 1800s. Regardless, they’re here to stay in the Buckeye State.

As a species that thrives in cold water, rainbow trout spawn in chilly, moving water, usually directly over rocky substrate like gravel. Because they don’t reproduce much in Ohio naturally, the state’s division of wildlife raises and stocks them in Lake Erie’s many tributaries. 

When they hatch, rainbow trout grow and mature in these smaller streams and creeks before venturing out to Lake Erie. When they’re old enough to produce their own young, they migrate back up the tributaries to attempt spawning, repeating the process–with the help of the Ohio Division of Wildlife to boost their numbers, of course.

Although fish seem like they’d be some of the most vulnerable species during an earthquake, they excel at detecting seismic activity! Interestingly, the sound waves that earthquakes produce are much louder and stronger in water than in air. As a result, fish like the rainbow trout can quite literally “hear” incoming earthquakes long before humans are ever aware of their presence.

What Do Trout Eat - Rainbow Trout Bursting from Surface

Rainbow trout can hear sound waves produced by earthquakes.

Where is Anna, Ohio Located on a Map?

Anna is a village located in Shelby County, Ohio, United States. According to the 2010 census, the village had a population of 1,567 residents. It is the most likely town to get hit by an Earthquake in the state of Ohio.

Here is Anna, Ohio on a map:

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About the Author

Hailey "Lex" Pruett is a nonbinary writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering reptiles and amphibians. They have over five years of professional content writing experience. Additionally, they grew up on a hobby farm and have volunteered at animal shelters to gain further experience in animal care. A longtime resident of Knoxville, Tennessee, Hailey has owned and cared extensively for a wide variety of animals in their lifetime, including cats, dogs, lizards, turtles, frogs and toads, fish, chickens, ducks, horses, llamas, rabbits, goats, and more!

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