The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed the quake, setting
the preliminary magnitude at 5.1 -- capable of causing considerable
damage. It was centered 15 miles southwest of Plattsburgh, New York.
According to the USGS, the quake happened at 6:50 a.m.
The Canadian Geological Survey reported an earthquake of
magnitude 5.5. Frank Revetta, the director of the Potsdam Seismic
Network at SUNY-Potsdam, said the Canadian figure may prove to be more
Jim King, director of Clinton County Emergency Services,
told CNN two aftershocks have been felt -- one about 15 minutes after
the initial earthquake, and a second shortly before 9 a.m.
The quake caused this road to collapse outside Plattsburgh, New York
"We're assessing the damage that's been called
in," said King. "We have a couple of roads that have
failed." He said State Route 9 was closed to traffic because of
damage from the quake.
New York Department of Transportation workers began
inspecting bridges for possible damage, and a lot of people had called
in reports of damage ranging from shattered glass to cracked ceilings
and chimneys. King said the county had declared an emergency.
Plattsburgh reported no significant damage or injuries.
George Facteau, a resident of Plattsburgh, said statues
and pictures in his apartment started to fall down, then his cat jumped
up and ran out of the room.
"Actually at first it was kind of scary,"
Facteau said. "I wasn't quite sure what was going on."
Facteau said he lives close to several banks and a
federal building. "That was my first concern, actually."
The USGS said in an earthquake bulletin that "the
earthquake was felt from Buffalo, New York to Boston, Massachusetts and
Police across the region say they received calls of
concern about tremors from New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut and
Vermont. There were similar calls in Ontario.
In Connecticut, an unidentified man in Enfield said he
and a friend were fishing Saturday morning when they heard a sound
"kind of like when big trucks drive by. The ground shook and my
buddy just said, 'Did you feel that?' We looked at each other and didn't
think nothing of it."
Police in New London, New Hampshire, say they have
received a few dozen calls about tremors. A police dispatcher said
residents are reporting that the earth shook for 15 to 20 seconds. A
dispatcher said the apparent tremors, however, weren't very intense.
One resident reported that "everything was
Sgt. Russell See of the New Haven, Connecticut, police
said the department had received calls from people who had felt the
tremor or tremors and were concerned. One caller said the house shook.
See said police had confirmed the information with other
police departments across the state, but that they had no reports of
damage or injuries.
CNN also received an e-mail from a Syracuse, New York,
resident, who reported being awakened by what appeared to be a quake.
When an earthquake occurs, the first information that is
processed and relayed is usually based on a small subset of the seismic
stations in the network, especially in the case of a larger earthquake.
This is done so that some information can be obtained immediately
without waiting for all of it to be processed.
As a result, the first magnitude reported is usually
based on a small number of recordings. As additional data are processed
and become available, the magnitude and location are refined and
updated. Sometimes, the assigned magnitude is "upgraded" or
slightly increased, and sometimes it is "downgraded" or
Severe earthquakes have occurred in the eastern United
States, but are most commonly associated with the West. The USGS
estimates that a magnitude 6 earthquake in November 1775 heavily damaged
The strongest earthquakes recorded in the continental
United States occurred in eastern Missouri near the border with Kentucky
and Tennessee, not out West. During the winter of 1811-1812, a series of
three earthquakes, with estimated magnitudes of 8.4 to 8.7, occurred
near New Madrid, Missouri.
The shocks were so strong that they changed the course
of the Mississippi River, church bells rang in Washington D.C. and
Boston, and observers reported that the land distorted into visible
There were few deaths or damage because the surrounding
area was mostly undeveloped at the time.
The quake caused this road to collapse outside
Plattsburgh, New York