4.8 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles US Cities

Peter Uzoho with agency report

A 4.8 magnitude earthquake recorded in New Jersey that shook residents in surrounding states and New York City yesterday, was one of the strongest in state history.
The temblor was reported about five miles north of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, at about 10:23 a.m. yesterday, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The epicenter was about 45 miles away from New York City, where residents reported shaking furniture and floors.
“Earthquakes in this region are uncommon but not unexpected. It’s likely people near the epicenter are going to feel aftershocks for this earthquake in the magnitude 2-3 range, and there’s a small chance there can be an earthquake as large or larger, following an earthquake like this,” US Today quoted Paul Earle, a seismologist at the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program to have told reporters.

“In terms of our operations this is a routine earthquake … Immediately we knew this would be of high interest and important to people who don’t feel earthquakes a lot.”
People reported feeling the shaking as far north as Maine and as far south as Norfolk, Virginia, following the quake, according to USGS.
Scientists said those in the affected area should listen to local emergency officials and be prepared to seek cover if aftershocks occur.
“If you feel shaking, drop, cover and hold,” Earle said.

No major disruptions or damage was reported in New Jersey or New York.
“We have activated our State Emergency Operations Center. Please do not call 911 unless you have an actual emergency,” said New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy.

President Joe Biden spoke with Murphy about the earthquake, saying White House was monitoring the situation.
“He thinks everything’s under control,” Biden told reporters before leaving the White House for a trip to Baltimore.
“He’s not too concerned about it, the governor of New Jersey, so things are all right.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, said the quake was felt throughout New York, and officials were assessing impacts and any potential damage.
In Yonkers, New York, Mayor Mike Spano, said City Hall shook but no injuries were reported.
“A few moments ago our entire house shook for about 25 seconds or so here in Mendham, NJ,” former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.
USGS is still investigating the exact fault line at the center of Friday’s quake, and said it occurred in a region with dozens of fault lines that were more active millions of years ago.

Sara McBride, a scientist with the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program, said the agency has recorded at least two aftershocks related in the first few hours after the quake struck. The agency continues to refine its aftershock forecast for this event.
“There’s a three per cent chance of magnitude five or greater in the next week related to this earthquake,” McBride said during a news briefing.
USGS scientists also said informal observations can be a big help in understanding earthquakes, especially in a region where they’re less common.
“We encourage people to fill out the ‘Did You Feel It?’ reports on our website,” McBride said. “This citizen science project is critical in terms of building our knowledge around earthquakes.”
By mid-afternoon on Friday, the agency said it had received more than 161,000 reports, and extrapolated that the quake had been felt by millions of people. McBride acknowledged that earthquakes can be nerve-wracking for people who don’t live in seismologically active regions, and said knowledge is power in combatting that discomfort.
“The best thing you can do to relieve any unsettling feelings you might have is to learn how to protect yourself during shaking and how to prepare for earthquakes in the future,” she said.
USGS officials also said that even smaller-magnitude quakes are more likely to be felt more widely on the East Coast than similar size quakes on the West Coast due to the rock properties of eastern soil.
“The surgeon sort of froze and all of us kind of seemed a bit confused,” Justin Allen told USA TODAY. “Even when the surgeon said ‘that’s gotta be an earthquake,’ I thought he was joking.”

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