4.0 quake takes New England by surprise

4.0 quake takes New England by surprise

A 4.0-magnitude earthquake shook southern Maine at approximately 7:12 p.m. on Tuesday, resulting in a shockwave felt all across New England. The quake, which was downgraded from its initial estimated magnitude of 4.6, caused no apparent injuries or property damage. Cambridge residents reported experiencing weak shaking.

At MIT, the dormitory mailing lists were abuzz with expressions of surprise, nonchalance, and momentary confusion, including one thread claiming that “Next House is made of jello.” A few more incredulous students sought confirmation from others that the shaking was indeed the result of an earthquake.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the quake was felt most strongly in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Tremors were also felt in other parts of New England, as well as in parts of New Jersey, New York, and even southern Quebec, Canada. East Coast earthquakes — particularly ones in New England — are rarer than their West Coast counterparts but can be felt up to 10 times farther away due to the solidity of the region’s underground rock.

This was the first major quake to be felt in the area since August of last year when a 5.8-magnitude tremor centered in Virginia shook Boston — the East Coast’s most powerful earthquake in 67 years.

—Stephen Suen