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4.8 magnitude earthquake confirmed in New Jersey shakes New York City

A 4.8 magnitude earthquake confirmed in New Jersey that shook residents in surrounding states and New York City on Friday morning was one of the strongest in state history. The epicenter was about 5 miles north of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, just 45 miles away from New York City. Around 10:23 a.m. Friday, residents reported rattling furniture and shaking floors. This is the strongest earthquake to hit the region since 1884.

“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,” Paul Earle, a seismologist at the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program 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 earthquake as far north as Maine and as far south as Norfolk, Virginia.

“A 4.8 magnitude earthquake hit west of Manhattan and has been felt throughout New York,” Governor Kathy Hochul posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, “My team is assessing impacts and any damage that may have occurred, and we will update the public throughout the day.” While earthquakes are common in this area, they are usually at a much lower magnitude and less likely to be felt. Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten, a geologist and curator of sedimentary rocks at the New York State Museum, says that it is unlikely for a larger earthquake to follow this one, but it is possible that aftershocks could befall the area.

Charita Walcott, a 38-year-old resident in the Bronx borough of New York, said the quake felt “like a violent rumble that lasted about 30 seconds or so. It was kind of like being in a drum circle, that vibration.”

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.

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