I have lived in my house for around six years. I have never used my fireplace. The house was a foreclosure and has problems. I also live in Oklahoma and we have hundreds of smaller earthquakes each year.
I noticed tonight my cat was frozen in front of the fireplace sniffing. I got up and looked. There is a three inch gap between the bottom of the firebox and the brick hearth. I cannot feel any gaps on side or top. The gap is a couple of inched deep and seems to be dirt, well wet dirt. We have had rain in the last couple of days.
Can you give me any idea what might have caused this?