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Unexpected 4.8 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Connecticut, New York & New Jersey

Megan Hayes | News Editor

Screen grab of a report this morning from FOX 61 News out of Hartford. / FOX61

Around 10:23 this morning, a 4.8 magnitude earthquake hit Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, shaking the surrounding states of New York as well as some parts of Connecticut. Sites like Twitter (X) were swimming with concerns immediately after the incident, with many reporting things falling off tables or shaking their computer screens. Although this is one of the largest earthquakes Connecticut has experienced (our last few ranging from 3.0-3.3), residents are expressing their gratitude that they experienced minimal damage.

As of right now, no deaths, injuries or major structural damage have been reported. Only a few dozen power outages have been reported within CT, and public officials have confirmed that it did not cause any widespread damage. Power and utility companies like EverSource are conducting routine checks to ensure electrical wiring as well as power lines are safe and have no inherent risk following the earthquake.

As with all earthquakes, they are caused by a slip on a fracture zone between two blocks of earth (fracture zone). The tectonic plates on our Earth move, but their edges may rub together and move quickly, as they are typically held together by friction. This causes waves of energy to move through the Earth's crust and shake everything on land as the seismic waves travel through.

In a conference held today at 1:30pm by Connecticut's Governor Ned Lamont, the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security said they are "handling the incident the way they would handle any potential emergency... working with regional offices to determine if there has been any damage in the state."

At this time, the only thing that residents in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York must be mindful of is the possible aftershocks (smaller earthquakes) that can happen following an earthquake - they most typically happen hours to days after an earthquake. Often they are 1.2 magnitude units smaller than the mainshock - which for us was 4.8 (leaving potential aftershocks to be around 3.6 magnitude - still larger than any of our past ones) (Bath's law of seismology). Officials have not noted any concerns about us seeing a larger earthquake following this morning's event. It would be a different case if this happened in California, which is VERY seismically active - but as of right now, there is a 94% chance of the East not experiencing another quake.


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