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4.8 magnitude earthquake, 4.0 aftershock rattles tri-state, stuns Westchester and Hudson Valley residents

An earthquake centered in New Jersey shook people in Westchester, the Hudson Valley and all across the tri-state area this morning.

Rob Taub and Associated Press

Apr 5, 2024, 4:28 PM

Updated 79 days ago


An earthquake centered in New Jersey shook people in Westchester, the Hudson Valley and all across the tri-state area this morning.
The USGS reported a quake at 10:23 a.m. with a preliminary magnitude of 4.8, centered near Lebanon, New Jersey, or about 45 miles west of New York City and 50 miles north of Philadelphia. U.S.G.S. figures indicated that the quake might have been felt by more than 42 million people.
Earthquakes are less common on the eastern than western edges of the U.S. because the East Coast does not lie on a boundary of tectonic plates. The biggest Eastern quakes usually occur along the mid-Atlantic Ridge, which extends through Iceland and the Atlantic Ocean.
Quakes on the East Coast can still pack a punch, as its rocks are better than their western counterparts at spreading earthquake energy across long distances.
“If we had the same magnitude quake in California, it probably wouldn’t be felt nearly as far away,” said USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso.
A 4.8-magnitude quake isn't large enough to cause damage, except for some minor effects near the epicenter, the agency posted on X.
Robert Thorson, a University of Connecticut earth sciences professor, said the quake resulted from the constant compression of the earth's hard, brittle crust in New Jersey.
“It’s like having a big block of ice in a vise, and you are just slowly cranking up the vise,” he said. Eventually, you’re going to get some crackling on it.”
Friday's quake was felt as far as Vermont and New Hampshire, where some residents initially figured it was snow falling off their roofs or plow trucks rumbling by.
Earthquakes with magnitudes near or above 5 struck near New York City in 1737, 1783 and 1884, the USGS said. And Friday's stirred memories of the Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake that jolted tens of millions of people from Georgia to Canada. With an epicenter in Virginia, it left cracks in the Washington Monument and rattled New Yorkers ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Registering magnitude 5.8, it was the strongest earthquake to hit the East Coast since World War II.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said the quake was felt throughout the state, but officials had no reports of any life-threatening problems.
News 12 Westchester has a team of reporters covering the reaction from people across Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

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