What We Know About the East Coast Earthquake

Travel was snarled but no major damage or injuries have been reported after 4.8 quake
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2024 1:35 PM CDT
East Coast Is Shooketh From Surprise Morning Quake
This image shows the epicenter of an earthquake on the East Coast on Friday.   (US Geological Survey via AP)

So far, there've been no reports of major injuries or damage as a result of the 4.8 magnitude earthquake that surprised the East Coast on Friday morning, with its epicenter near Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. The AP reports that the temblor was felt by 42 million people, and that residents from Baltimore up through New Hampshire felt the ground move beneath their feet. New York City officials warn of the possibility of aftershocks, though they say the risk for that is considered low, per SILive.com. NYC Mayor Eric Adams advised in a statement that if your area is hit with an aftershock to "drop to the floor, cover your head and neck, and take cover under a solid piece of furniture, next to an interior wall." Authorities continue to check local infrastructure for damage. More coverage:

  • 'Travel chaos': That's how the New York Post frames what happened in the New York tristate area immediately following the quake. The Holland Tunnel was closed for inspection, while flights were grounded at LaGuardia and Newark airports. Fox Business notes flights at JFK Airport were also postponed.
  • Video: Various clips are popping up online, some courtesy of home or security cameras that captured the event, per the Post (check these two out from Jersey). Meanwhile, TMZ shows a clip of people strolling through Times Square, seemingly unfazed by the shake-up.
  • Historic: NorthJersey.com, which reports that the quake took place along the Ramapo Fault System, notes that this was the strongest quake in the Garden State since 1783, when one hit with a 5.3 magnitude.
  • Yankees: Friday is the New York team's home opener, but the earthquake proved to be just a temporary distraction as players warmed up at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Team manager Aaron Boone, a California native accustomed to quakes, said he felt the ground under his feet shake, but he believed it was something else entirely. "I thought it was the sound system," he said, per ESPN. The game against the Toronto Blue Jays started more or less on schedule.

  • Where next? Vox must've had a premonition, because two days ago, the outlet published an earthquake "refresher," delving into the causes of quakes and how it's difficult to predict where they'll strike next. It also warns that "the big one" is headed to the US eventually—meaning a huge quake that's predicted to someday hit the Pacific Northwest, with a possible magnitude up to 9.2. "I wouldn't say we're overdue, but it could happen at any time," cautions Stanford geophysics instructor Greg Beroza.
  • Comfort from a landmark: Despite the temporary commotion, one Big Apple institution wants fans to know all is well. "I AM FINE," the Empire State Building posted on X right after the event. The Statue of Liberty's webcam also provides its own perspective here.
(More earthquake stories.)

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