A 4.8 magnitude earthquake hit New Jersey Friday morning, rocking the entire Northeast, with some residents as far north as Portland feeling the quake.


This image provided by U.S. Geological Survey shows the epicenter of an earthquake on the East Coast of the U.S. on Thursday. U.S. Geological Survey via AP

It hit at 10:23 a.m. and was located about 4 miles northeast of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, and about 50 miles west of Manhattan. It had a depth of about 3 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The shaking was felt in cities from Philadelphia to Boston. In Maine, residents reported feeling their homes shake in the Portland area and throughout York County. The temblor severely damaged three multifamily homes in Newark, New Jersey, displacing nearly 30 residents.

The earthquake may have been felt by 42 million people, according to USGS figures. Earthquakes are classified in categories from minor to great, depending on their magnitude. A 4.8 magnitude earthquake is considered light but is likely felt by people. Moderate earthquakes with magnitudes between 5.0 and 5.9 are likely to cause minor damage.

In the immediate aftermath, the Federal Aviation Administration halted air traffic in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

The earthquake shook buildings in New York City, but there was no apparent damage there, the New York Times reported. During a Friday morning briefing, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said structural teams were out inspecting bridges, tunnels, roads and other infrastructure to make sure they were not compromised.


“We have not felt the magnitude of an earthquake of this level since about 2011,” she said. “This is one of the largest earthquakes to occur on the East Coast in the last century.”

On Aug. 23, 2011, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered in Virginia was felt from Georgia to Canada. The strongest quake on the East Coast since World War II, it left cracks in the Washington Monument and spurred the evacuation of the White House and Capitol.

Earthquakes are less common on the East Coast because the area does not lie on a boundary of tectonic plates – slabs of Earth’s crust that slide past each other and build pressure when they get stuck.

The biggest quakes usually occur along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which extends through Iceland and the Atlantic Ocean. A plate boundary called the San Andreas Fault stretches through California.

Compared to the western U.S., the hard, brittle rocks on the East Coast are better at spreading earthquake energy across far distances.

This report contains material from The Associated Press. 

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