4.8-magnitude earthquake rocks greater New York City, grounds flights

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Pedestrians cross the street in New York on Friday, April 5, 2024. An earthquake shook the densely populated New York City metropolitan area Friday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said, with residents across the Northeast reporting rumbling in a region where people are unaccustomed to feeling the ground move.

NEW YORK, April 6: Residents in the greater New York City area were shaken awake this morning by a 4.8-magnitude earthquake, causing disruptions to trains and flights as officials scrambled to assess any damages.

The tremors, which originated near Gladstone, New Jersey, prompted an immediate response from authorities as aftershocks continued to rattle nerves throughout the region. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) recorded a 4.0 aftershock later in the day, intensifying concerns among residents from Pennsylvania to New York to New Jersey.

Initial reports from the USGS pinpointed the epicenter of the earthquake approximately 7 kilometers southwest of Gladstone, New Jersey, less than a 20-minute drive from the site of the morning’s seismic event. In the aftermath, residents expressed a mix of astonishment and anxiety, with one Brooklyn resident remarking that the back-to-back earthquakes made New York feel like “California 2.0.”

Despite the unsettling experience, authorities from the New York City Office of Emergency Management assured the public that there were “no major damage reports” following the aftershock. Nevertheless, the rare occurrence of noticeable earthquakes in the area left many shaken.

According to Kishor S Jaiswal, a research structural engineer with the USGS, aftershocks could persist for several days, underscoring the need for continued vigilance. The initial earthquake, which registered approximately 7.5 kilometers deep, extended its impact to surrounding states, prompting emergency alerts to residents warning of potential aftershocks.

While earthquakes are infrequent in the New York City area, today’s events underscored the potential for significant disruptions. Flight operations at Newark Liberty International Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport were briefly halted, with delays affecting arrivals at La Guardia Airport and Teterboro Airport.

Seismologists emphasize the importance of accurately measuring earthquakes to assess their impact. While the Richter scale, a familiar metric for many, is considered outdated, the Moment Magnitude scale provides a more reliable estimate of earthquake size by incorporating multiple factors.

In response to the seismic activity, governors from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut have been briefed on the situation, with assessments underway to determine any damages or impacts. Fortunately, there have been no reports of injuries or significant damages thus far.

As residents in the greater New York City area regain their footing after today’s seismic events, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictable forces of nature and the importance of preparedness in the face of adversity.

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