Another Earthquake Felt in Parts of New York State
Less than a month after a magnitude 2.5 earthquake struck near the New York state-Canadian border, another tremor has occurred. As a drought has been dominating weather-related news across the state this summer, New York does see its share of seismic activity. WVIB says the quake struck Monday afternoon.
According to the NESEC, around 551 earthquakes have been recorded in New York state from the years 1737-2016.
Tremor in New York
The United States Geological Survey says the small magnitude 1.2 tremor happened just east of Batavia, NY in Genesee County. To put that into perspective, an earthquake measuring 1.0 on the Richter Scale has the equivalent energy of a 60 watt lightbulb left on for 9 hours straight. So, unless you're right on top of the epicenter, you're generally not going to feel much. No damage was reported during the quake.
A number of quakes like this can occur regularly and you'd probably never know they ever did.
Could Something as Strong as a Magnitude 7.0 Ever Happen?
The most well known fault line near our area is the Ramapo fault line. The 185 mile system of faults runs through parts of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and has been known to spawn smaller earthquakes.
Some say New York's fault systems are much more complex and extensive than originally thought. A 2008 study proposed that there may be an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault into southwestern Connecticut. There are also many smaller faults that criss-cross across New York City, and the city could be long overdue for a significant earthquake.
There is also the Western Quebec Seismic Zone, which can produce larger quakes that can be felt up and down the eastern coast of the United States, particularly for their neighbors directly south in the Empire State. This is where the strongest quakes happen near us.
New York State's All-Time Most Powerful Earthquake?
According to the NESEC, the largest earthquake centered in New York state happened on September 5, 1944. The magnitude 5.9 quake, with an epicenter beneath the New York-Canada border, did major damage in the towns of Massena, NY, and Cornwall, Ontario. Heavy damage was recorded in the town of Massena (St. Lawrence County), with a number of chimneys, windows, housing foundations, and a high school gymnasium reported destroyed.
New York City has suffered two damaging quakes of note. The first was December 18, 1737, when a 5.2 struck in the Greater New York City area. However, since it was so long ago, little is known about the epicenter or the extent of the damage. Another 5.2 quake struck on August 10, 1884, in Brooklyn, which cracked houses, tossed objects off shelves and shook towns in New York and New Jersey.