Though the earthquake that no one really noticed yesterday was the largest to hit the New York area in 18 years, it’s important to note that it wasn’t an unusual event. One person in a WNYC story was quoted as saying that he had fun.
Researchers at the Earth Institute have kept close tabs on fault lines in New York for years. The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, runs the seismic network that covers this area. You can see a live seismogram showing the quake. It was centered about 125 miles southeast of New York City, some 5 kilometers under the seabed, near where an underwater canyon carved by the Hudson River drops off the continental slope into deeper waters. The US Geological Survey reports that the quake was widely, but lightly felt, from at least Toms River NJ to near Boston, with many reports on Long Island. See: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/dyfi/events/ld/60011606/us/index.html.
Also back in 2008 we wrote about some of the research being done on NY-area earthquakes and how they pose greater danger than one might think. Scientists came to this conclusion through a sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. If you have any earthquake experience, with either yesterday’s or any other, we’d like to hear.