Earthquake Shakes Northeast: Tremors Felt from New England to DC

Earthquake Shakes Northeast: Tremors Felt from New England to DC

A 4.8 magnitude earthquake shook buildings across parts of the Northeast on Friday morning, as reported by the US Geological Survey. The tremors were felt from Washington, DC to New York City to Maine.

This seismic event marks the third largest earthquake recorded in the area in the last five decades and the most potent in New Jersey in over 240 years, according to the USGS. The quake’s impact was widespread, affecting millions of people across hundreds of miles.

In regions unaccustomed to earthquakes, residents across large swaths of the Northeast initially mistook the shaking for a passing tractor-trailer or freight train before realizing its seismic nature. Despite the surprise, authorities reported minimal damage and disruptions to travel, allowing people to quickly resume their normal routines.

Jeanne Evola, a resident of Franklin Square on Long Island, described feeling her entire house shaking. Initially, she thought it was caused by a passing vehicle or the oil burner inside her home. As the quake intensified, she and her neighbors realized they were experiencing an earthquake, approximately 20 miles east of New York City.

The New York Police Department confirmed no damages or injuries resulting from the earthquake. New York Mayor Eric Adams assured residents that they should proceed with their usual activities during a news briefing later that Friday.

According to New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zachary Iscol, the likelihood of aftershocks is low.

The earthquake, according to the USGS, occurred at 10:23 a.m., while the New York City Fire Department received reports of shaking buildings around 10:30 a.m.

In response to the reports, the fire department stated that they were assessing structural stability and responding to calls, reassuring the public that there were no major incidents at the time.

Following the tremors, residents in certain parts of the New York City area spilled out onto sidewalks from their tenements and row houses, still startled by the sudden movement.

David Rodriguez, a resident of Hoboken, New Jersey, recounted his experience, stating, “Everything started vibrating, then I felt the building shake.” Initially mistaking it for a passing truck, Rodriguez soon realized it was more serious.

The official X account for the Empire State Building posted a reassuring message: “I AM FINE.”

Even after the shaking stopped, residents received loud emergency alerts on their mobile phones, with another alert at 11:46 a.m. cautioning about potential aftershocks. Explaining the delay, a city emergency management official described an earthquake as a “no notice event,” requiring authorities to verify information received.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul addressed the situation, emphasizing the need for continued vigilance, stating, “New Yorkers are not accustomed to having earthquakes in our state.” She urged everyone to take the situation seriously.

Earthquake Impact and Witness Accounts

Magnitude and Sensations

According to the USGS, more than 23 million people experienced “light shaking,” which is commonly felt and can cause noticeable movement of cars, akin to a truck striking a building. Around 9,000 individuals felt “strong shaking,” described as being felt by everyone and capable of moving heavy furniture and causing slight damage, particularly near the epicenter in Lebanon, New Jersey. Nearly 300,000 people felt “moderate shaking,” which could potentially lead to broken windows or falling dishes.

Witness Accounts

Reed Whitmont, a resident of Park Slope, Brooklyn, described feeling the tremors while sitting in bed, prompting his cat to bolt. He recounted the experience as lasting about a minute, followed by a cacophony of neighbors shouting and confirming the event, which he termed as a quintessential New York moment.

Similarly, Kristina Fiore in Jersey City, New Jersey, experienced the shaking while seated at her desk. In a video captured inside her apartment, objects rattled as her cat fled, prompting Fiore to reassure her child and acknowledge the earthquake.

At Boonton Coffee Co. in Boonton, New Jersey, customers were caught off guard as the building shook. A video shared on social media depicted confusion and panic among patrons, with some fleeing and others attempting to maintain composure while ordering.

Geological Assessment

Initial data from the USGS suggested that the light shaking was unlikely to cause significant damage. Although initially reported as a 4.8 magnitude quake, it was later revised to 4.7 before returning to 4.8. Further adjustments may occur as additional data is analyzed.

Earthquake Shakes Northeast: Tremors Felt from New England to DC

Epicenter and Depth

The epicenter was situated just northeast of Lebanon, New Jersey, less than 50 miles west of New York City, according to the USGS. The earthquake was relatively shallow, occurring at a depth of 5 km below the surface, which contributed to the widespread sensation of shaking in affected regions, including New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.

Impact on Air and Train Travel

Factors Influencing the Quake’s Reach

The US Geological Survey (USGS) attributed the widespread sensation of the earthquake to various factors, including the geological characteristics of the region. The quake, falling within the USGS classification of a shallow earthquake (0 to 70 km deep), released energy that resulted in more intense shaking at the surface compared to deeper earthquakes of the same magnitude.

Geological Composition

The geological composition of the eastern US, characterized by older, denser, and harder rocks in the crust and mantle, facilitated the efficient transmission of seismic energy over longer distances. This increased potency of seismic waves poses a greater risk to structures, especially older buildings in the Northeast, which may not adhere to the latest earthquake-resistant design standards.

Impact on Air and Train Travel

The earthquake disrupted air and train travel in the Northeast. Flights to major airports such as New York Kennedy, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Newark were initially halted, with the air traffic control tower at Newark Liberty airport evacuated as a precautionary measure. Controllers moved to an alternate location, resulting in flight delays and inspections of airport runways for potential damage.

Similarly, Amtrak reported slowing down train services and implementing speed restrictions throughout the Northeast until track inspections were completed. NJ Transit also experienced delays, with system-wide services subject to up to 20-minute delays in both directions due to bridge inspections following the earthquake.

 

 

 

 

(News Source: CNN and Some Other)