NYC Metro Area, Northeast Shaken by 4.8 Earthquake

The temblor was centered in New Jersey, but the shaking was felt from Baltimore to New Hampshire

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A 4.8-magnitude earthquake shook New York City and the greater Notheast on Friday morning, sending office workers out of their buildings and striking a few moments of fear throughout the region.

The ground started shaking at about 10:23 ET, a rumble that lasted several seconds. No injuries were immediately reported, according to NBC New York.

The United States Geological Service put the epicenter in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, about 50 miles west of Central Park, but the temblor was felt on eastern Long Island, as far south as Baltimore and north to the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border. Data showed the temblor was likely felt by more than 42 million people.

The New York City Fire Department said there were no initial reports of damage.

“I AM FINE,” the Empire State Building posted on X, stating in a post a few minutes later that it is “business as usual” at the office tower and popular tourist destination.

“While we do not have any reports of major impacts at this time, we’re still assessing the impact,” New York City Mayor Eric Adam’s office posted. The city sent out an emergency alert at 11 a.m.

“My team is assessing impacts and any damage that may have occurred, and we will update the public throughout the day,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul posted. Her comment that the quake was centered “west of Manhattan” drew jeers.

“It’s called New Jersey. It’s ok to say the name,” Jersey resident George Darnell, CEO Kevin Garnett’s Big Ticket Sports, replied.

“All I know is @vladduthiersCBS and I were sitting at the anchor desk and suddenly it felt like a subway train was passing through the studio,” posted CBS anchor Anne-Marie Green.

The earthquake caused some late-morning travel chaos in the region. Hochul said at a press conference that John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty airports were temporarily shut down to assess the affects, but both airports later posted that they were back in business. The Holland Tunnel linking New York City and New Jersey was also briefly closed for a damage inspection, but was reopened a short time later.

Hochul also warned about aftershocks, which are typically of lower intensity than initial earthquakes but can be stronger. The USGS said there’s a 46% change of an aftershock of magnitude 3 or greater in the less week, but just a 3% change of a magnitude 5 or greater, and less than 1% chance of an even stronger aftershock.

While less common than in Western states, earthquakes are not unheard of in the Northeast. In 2023, New York shook twice: A 3.8 magnitude quake upstate near West Seneca on Feb. 6 and a 3.6 shaker on April 23 near Watertown.

On Aug. 23,2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake with its epicenter in Virginia was felt from Georgia to Canada. It was the strongest quake to hit the East Coast since World War II, The Associated Press reported.

As #earthquake trended on social media, most posters joked about the event, posting photos of lawn chairs lying on the ground.

“Dear California …” posted Elie Mystal, a writer for The Nation magazine. “how the F— do you live like this?”

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