A map of the region where shaking was felt during the short quake. (Via USGS)

Rare Earthquake Shakes The Region

A rare earthquake rattled East Coast residents on the morning of Friday, April 5.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) quickly reported that the quake had a magnitude of 4.8, with its epicenter located 4.7 miles below ground in an area about 4 kilometers north of Whitehouse Station in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

The shaking, which happened at 10:23 a.m. EDT and only lasted a couple of seconds, was felt across the region, from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to New York and Connecticut. The epicenter of the earthquake was located along the Ramapo fault line.

That morning, Newark and JFK Airports both put ground stops into effect so that crews could inspect runways out of caution.

The Holland Tunnel between New York and New Jersey was briefly closed for inspection, and was reopened by 11:15 a.m.

Governor Kathy Hochul said in a press conference, “This is one of the largest earthquakes on the East Coast to occur in the last century. So, I immediately directed my emergency management team, the second we received word of this, to start doing damage assessments – any life in danger and finding out whether there’s any bridges or tunnels that are compromised.”

“At this point,” Hochul said Friday morning, “we’ve not identified any life-threatening situations, but we are certainly asking our local law enforcement and emergency services teams to be on guard for that as well. But again, we are going to be reviewing all potentially vulnerable infrastructure sites throughout the State of New York that is critically important in the aftermath of an event like this.”

Speaking alongside several other state and federal officials, Hochul also noted, “I have a few safety tips because New Yorkers are not accustomed to having earthquakes in our state. And everyone should continue to take this seriously. If there is an aftershock, people are encouraged to drop and to cover and to hold on. Drop to the floor, cover your neck, and hold on to something that is sturdy. Take caution near any damaged buildings.”

Multiple smaller aftershocks were also recorded near the epicenter. According to the USGS, there is a 46% of aftershocks occurring during the first week after the quake, in this case.

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