United States

Live Updates: Magnitude 4.8 Earthquake Hits New York City Region, Biggest In 40 Years

A rare earthquake with a magnitude of 4.8 struck near Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, causing buildings to shake in New York City and surrounding areas. Despite the tremors, there are currently no reports of significant damage.

Rare Earthquake Shakes New York

A 4.8 magnitude earthquake that struck in New Jersey sent tremors through neighboring states and New York City on Friday morning.

The quake, which occurred around 10:23 a.m. Friday, was centered approximately 5 miles north of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, as reported by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Its epicenter was situated roughly 45 miles from New York City, where residents experienced shaking of furniture and floors.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy urged residents to remain calm, stating, "We have activated our State Emergency Operations Center. Please do not call 911 unless you have an actual emergency." 

Also, although Buffalo, New York, experienced a 3.8-magnitude earthquake on February 6th last year, an earthquake of today's magnitude has not been felt in the area for four decades.

The last significant quake in the region, a 5.1 magnitude, occurred in 1983 near the town of Newcomb in upstate New York, shaking residents in the vicinity.

Earthquake Disrupts Proceedings Of UN Security Council

The earthquake disrupted the UN Security Council meeting in New York City. In a video shared by the UN on X platform, Janti Soeripto, President and Chief Executive Officer of "Save the Children" organisation, was delivering a briefing on the situation in war-torn Gaza when the earthquake's tremors were felt at the United Nations building.

During the interruption, a fellow member humorously remarked, "You're making the ground shake!" Soeripto resumed her briefing after the tremors subsided.

Full Ground Stops Imposed At JFK And Newark Airports

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has confirmed that both JFK Airport in New York and Newark International Airport in New Jersey are currently under full ground stops. This precautionary measure comes as authorities remain on alert for any potential aftershocks following the recent earthquake.

New York City Public Schools Open Despite Earthquake

Officials, as reported on X, have assured that New York City public schools are maintaining regular operations in the wake of this morning's earthquake.

They emphasise that there is no requirement for parents to report to schools. Additionally, authorities stated that there is "no indication" of any compromise to the city's public school infrastructure.

Port Authority Warns Of Potential Aftershocks

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reported "strong vibrations" following a 4.8 magnitude earthquake and cautioned of potential aftershocks. In a statement, they advised that aftershocks could be felt throughout the remainder of the day.

President Biden Briefed About Earthquake

According to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, President Joe Biden has been briefed on the earthquake that struck New York and New Jersey. Jean-Pierre stated in a post on X platform that the White House is actively communicating with federal, state, and local officials to gather more information.

President Biden Briefs Press on Earthquake Before Heading To Inspect Key Bridge Collapse

Before boarding a helicopter bound for Baltimore to assess the damage caused by the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, President Joe Biden took a moment to brief reporters on his conversation with the Governor of New Jersey regarding the recent earthquake.

Biden noted that the governor expressed confidence that the situation was under control and didn't seem overly worried about it.

"He thinks everything's under control, he's not too concerned about it," Biden said.

Earthquake Causes Severe Damage to Three Homes in New Jersey Neighborhood

The earthquake caused significant damage to three multifamily homes in a Newark neighborhood, the largest city in New Jersey, leading to the evacuation of nearly 30 residents. No injuries were reported.

Witnesses observed the homes leaning toward each other upon the arrival of emergency responders. City officials stated that 25 adults and three children residing in these homes have been relocated.

A spokeswoman for the city mentioned that crews are currently inspecting buildings for any potential damage or issues resulting from the earthquake.

Official Statement: Earthquake Reported at Three-Mile Depth, Felt by Millions

An official statement confirms that the earthquake, occurring at a depth of three miles, has been reported by over 161,000 individuals today, although its impact is estimated to have been felt "by millions."

Jessica Jobe from the US Geological Survey's Earthquake Hazards program notes that while earthquakes are rare in this area, they are not entirely unexpected. Describing today's event as a "contraction," Jobe explains it involved squeezing at a depth of approximately three miles.

"This is a region with many older faults that could be reactivated at any time," she explains.

US Geological Survey Predicts 3% Chance of Aftershocks in Coming Week

The US Geological Survey provides an aftershock forecast for the affected region following today's earthquake.

Officials state that there is a 3% probability of aftershocks of magnitude 5 or higher occurring in the next week, extending possibly up to three weeks.

While some aftershocks have been recorded, no specific details are provided. It's worth noting that the epicenter of today's earthquake was in New Jersey, with its effects felt in major cities such as New York, Boston, and Baltimore.

Earthquake Possibly Linked to 'Reactivated' Fault Line

According to Jessica Jobe of the US Geological Survey (USGS), today's earthquake may have occurred along an old fault line that had been "reactivated."

Jobe explains during a briefing, where reporters are posing questions, "Although there are no known active faults in the area, there are dozens of older inactive faults that formed millions of years ago."

"And under the current stresses from tectonic plates moving those faults can be intermittently reactivated."

She emphasizes that earthquakes "can happen anywhere at any time."

Additionally, Jobe mentions that New York has experienced only three earthquakes of magnitude 5 since the 1700s, with two occurring in the 1700s and one in the 1800s.

Officials Base Aftershock Forecast on Similar Past Earthquakes

USGS officials elaborate on the aftershock forecast, stating that their model is based on extensive data from past earthquakes of comparable size. This data, drawn from thousands of instances, is utilized to predict future seismic activity.

They clarify that this information is inputted into a mathematical equation and interpreted by seven statistical seismologists currently employed by USGS.

Regarding today's forecast, they mention the utilization of a "generic model" for prediction purposes, without delving into specific details.