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A 4.8 magnitude earthquake centered near New York City rattles the Northeast

The epicenter was located in Lebanon, New Jersey, and the tremors were felt in several cities including Baltimore and Philadelphia

Terremoto Nueva York
A screen at the New York Stock Exchange shows a news alert of a magnitude 4.8 earthquake in New York City.Andrew Kelly (REUTERS)

An earthquake shook the densely populated New York City metropolitan area Friday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said, with residents reporting they felt rumbling across the Northeast. The agency reported a quake 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. The Fire Department of New York said there were no initial reports of damage.

New York City experiences numerous small earthquakes each year, according to experts. Normally, people don’t feel them. But the one that shook the Big Apple on Friday morning made the ground and buildings shake for a few seconds in several boroughs of the city, especially in Brooklyn and Manhattan, including at the United Nations headquarters, where a Security Council meeting on the war in Gaza was underway.

The quake’s magnitude was more than three times the last one recorded last January, which was a magnitude 1.7 and had its epicenter in Queens ( NY). The impact of Friday’s tremor has been felt in several cities across the Northeast, from Philadelphia to Boston. A magnitude of 4.8 is significant for the region, but it is not considered serious. However, through an emergency alert sent to cell phones half an hour later, residents in the city were asked to stay indoors and to call 911 in case of personal injury.

People in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Connecticut and other areas of the Northeast reported shaking. Tremors lasting for several seconds were felt over 200 miles away near the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border. Several airports on the East coast grounded flights immediately.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul posted on X that the quake was felt throughout the state. “My team is assessing impacts and any damage that may have occurred, and we will update the public throughout the day,” Hochul said.

The shaking stirred memories of the Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake that jolted tens of millions of people from Georgia to Canada. Registering magnitude 5.8, it was the strongest quake to hit the East Coast since World War II. The epicenter was in Virginia.

That earthquake left cracks in the Washington Monument, spurred the evacuation of the White House and Capitol and rattled New Yorkers three weeks before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

New York City may not be known for its seismic activity, but it is not an isolated phenomenon. Earthquakes usually begin at a depth of between 3.5 and 12.5 kilometers underground and the one recorded on January 2 originated at a depth of about five kilometers.

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