Were you awake at 2 AM on Wednesday? According to the U.S. Geological Service, the precise location of the temblor was at 40.262°N 74.246°W, at a depth of 5 kilometers.
While many of Monmouth County’s 600,000 residents who were still awake felt the shaking, many did not even know it was an earthquake.
A staff writer spoke with Public Information Officer for Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Cynthia Scott, about the earthquake.
According to Officer Scott, no damage was reported anywhere in the county, nor were there any reported injuries. The 911 center received 125 calls to the centralized 911 call center within a half hour of the earthquake. No officers were dispatched to any calls.
Reports indicated that shaking was felt for anywhere from five to thirty seconds. There were no aftershocks. Officer Scott felt the shaking, and said that it felt like her house was rumbling for about five seconds.
According to one Freehold resident, Mr. Robert Donato, the earthquake was not enough to rouse him from sleep, and his family slept right through it. Vic Taylor,, a resident of Matawan, was awake and felt the earthquake. According to Ms. Taylor, “At first, I though a helicopter went over, but then there was shaking for a couple of seconds.” She stated that had had only ever experienced an earthquake once before, a few years ago, but that one was not as strong as the quake a few days ago.
A resident of Freehold who chose to remain anonymous had this to say, “I woke up from the earthquake. Went right back to sleep. Thought it was neighbor coming home playing bass his in car very loud..until I realized house was shaking.” She said that she had never experienced an earthquake before, but after a few seconds thought this might actually be one. She has lived in Freehold for twenty years.
As to whether Staten Islanders felt the earthquake, a sampling of islanders had their own responses. Alice Barbagallo had this to say, when asked whether she had felt the earthquake, “Not really. I found out…on TV.”
Amanda Ferone, of Port Richmond stated, “I didn’t feel anything. My aunt felt it. She said it was like a big shake or boom. We both live in Port Richmond. Well, I didn’t hear the whole story but I heard people talking about it.”
Shachena Gibbs, CEO of Real Sisters Rising Women’s Business Association in Port Richmond, when asked if she had felt the earthquake, had this to say, “No. I didn’t. When I woke up 5 o clock in the morning I heard about it in Jersey.”
Earthquakes on the East Coast differ significantly from those on the West Coast. According to the USGS, earthquake East of the Rockies can be felt up to ten times further away than earthquake of a similar magnitude on the West Coast, along the San Andreas fault system, for instance.
The underlying geology here is far denser, and the fault lines are older, than what exists in California, for instance. Because the ground is more settled, the energy is transmitted more efficiently than out West, where the bedrock is extremely fractured. It’s like the difference between punching sand and punching a piece of concrete The more loose particles of sand will not transmit the impact very far, comparatively.
Staten Island, and the region surrounding our island, is rife with fault lines. The Appalachian Mountains, the foothills of which terminate on Staten Island and along the Bergen Peninsula, were raised as the continent of North America was formed. The Ramapo Fault system spans roughly 185 miles, crossing the state lines of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York.
From approximately 450 million years ago to about 250 million years ago, the ancient African continent collided with the North American continent, which raised the mountains. This was a long time ago, and thus the mountains are far more worn than the sharply peaked Rockies.
A major fault line runs through the center of Staten Island’s Greenbelt, through Clove Lakes Park, up through Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, and over through Astoria, Queens. Another somewhat significant fault in our region is called the 125th Street fault,, running from New Jersey laterally across the northern aspect of Central Park, to the East River.
Because these faults are older, the chances of major quake here are quite small, however, the possibility does remain that we can have an earthquake sometime in the future.