Earthquake hits East Coast, rattling buildings in NYC, Philadelphia and Boston

An earthquake struck the East Coast of the United States on Friday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, causing buildings to shake and rattling nerves from Maryland to Maine.

The USGS measured the quake as a 4.8 temblor with its epicenter near Lebanon, New Jersey. It struck a little before 10:30 a.m. ET.

The earthquake was the strongest recorded in the Northeast in more than a decade, according to USGS records.

There were no immediate reports of major destruction or any fatalities. Local and regional officials from cities in the earthquake zone said inspections had been launched to ensure that buildings, bridges and other infrastructure were not damaged.

Follow here for live updates on the earthquake.

James Pittinger, mayor of Lebanon, New Jersey, called the earthquake “the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced.” In an interview with MSNBC, he said he had not received reports of any significant damage so far, but added that the shaking caused his dog to run for cover and objects to fall off his shelves.

While a 4.8-magnitude temblor is not considered a major earthquake, even minor shaking can cause damage on the East Coast, which does not take similar precautions as other earthquake hot spots around the world.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the quake was felt across the state.

“My team is assessing impacts and any damage that may have occurred, and we will update the public throughout the day,” she wrote on X.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in an afternoon news briefing that no major injuries or impacts to infrastructure were reported, and that people in the city should “go about their normal day.”

Ground stops were temporarily issued at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

The Port Authority Transit Corp., which operates a rapid transit route between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, suspended service in the aftermath of the quake.

“Crews will inspect the integrity of the line out of an abundance of caution,” PATCO said in an update on X. “Once inspection is complete, service will resume. No timeframe. Updates to follow.”

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority said that there had been no impact to its service but that teams will be inspecting train lines. New Jersey Transit alerted riders of 20-minute delays due to bridge inspections following the earthquake.

While earthquakes in the northeast U.S. are rare, Buffalo, New York, was struck by a 3.8-magnitude quake in February 2023 — the strongest recorded in the area in 40 years.

A 4.1-magnitude earthquake struck the tristate area in 2017, centered near Little Creek, Delaware, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. And before that, a 5.8-magnitude quake shook central Virginia in 2011, and was felt across much of the East Coast, forcing hundreds of thousands people to evacuate buildings in New York, Washington and other cities.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a post on X that the state has activated its emergency operations center and asked the public not to call 911 unless they are experiencing an emergency.

Frederik J. Simons, a professor of geosciences at Princeton University, told NBC News that the earthquake occurred on a shallow fault system in New Jersey and shook for about 35 seconds.

“The shallower or the closer it is, the more we feel it as humans,” he said.

The quake originated at a depth of less than 3 miles, according to the USGS.

Earthquakes on the East Coast can be felt at a great distance and can cause more pronounced shaking in comparison to those on the West Coast because rocks in the region are often older, harder and more dense.

“These are competent rocks that transmit energy well,” Simons said.

The earthquake ruptured on the Ramapo fault system, Simons said. The system is relatively old and considered mostly tectonically inactive. It’s at a boundary where the continental and oceanic tectonic plates meet and are stuck together. The plates grind against one another slowly and accumulate stress until something slips.

“There are cracks in it and now and then a little motion accumulates, the stress keeps growing, at very slow rates,” he said. “It’s like an old house creaking and groaning.”

Simons said this was one of the largest earthquakes in New Jersey in recent history. The last notable one was a magnitude-3.1 temblor in Freehold Township in September 2020.

“I’m on campus at Princeton University for the biggest one I’ve felt in a lifetime,” he said. “This shaking was violent, strong and long.”

Some video captured the moment of the earthquake, including one coffee shop in New Jersey.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

This article was originally published on

Source link