Rare 4.8-magnitude earthquake rattles NH residents

A 4.8-magnitude earthquake in New Jersey on Friday was felt throughout New Hampshire.

By Stacy Milbouer

April 5, 2024

When the couch I was sitting on in my seventh-floor Nashua apartment started sliding from side to side and my dog barked like she was on fire Friday morning, I had two thoughts—“The downstairs neighbors must have bought their kids pogo sticks—very powerful pogo sticks.” My second thought was, “Earthquake?”

The latter was quickly confirmed by posts on local social media platforms all, with the same questions, “Did you feel that?” “Was there just an earthquake?” and “What was that?”

A Manchester man posted environmental concerns, “In New Hampshire, we never used to get earthquakes. But with the introduction of fracking. We have been seeing more and more earthquakes in the northeast.”

One Amherst resident wrote, “Just felt house shaking—earthquake? Anybody else?” Another poster answered “Yes!!! It was scary!” But not everyone felt the shaking.

A Wilton/Lyndeborough woman wrote, “I was elbow-deep in my breakfast burrito. Didn’t feel a thing.”

But a lot of us in New Hampshire did feel the 4.8-magnitude quake which occurred at 10:23 a.m. in Lebanon, New Jersey and was felt from the greater New York/ New Jersey area up through New Hampshire and Vermont. Residents of New Boston, Hinsdale, Concord, Keene, Amherst, Brookline, and many other New Hampshire communities all felt it. Some reported shaking lasted as long as 20 or 30 seconds. According to the United States Geological Survey, this event was a shallow earthquake—which has more severe shaking than deep quakes. The agency stated that in the northeast, 23 million people felt light shaking, 300,000 experienced moderately shaken, and 9,000 felt strong shaking. You can add your perception to these statistics on the agency’s earthquake survey page.

The good news is that so far, no significant injuries or damages have been reported from the quake.

New Hampshire State Geologist Shane Csiki, said in an on-air interview on WMUR shortly after the quake, he wasn’t surprised there was a quake in New Jersey that was felt in New Hampshire. He said it was the same phenomenon that happened in 2011 when a 5.8-magnitude quake hit Washington, D.C., and was felt along the East Coast. “Earthquakes don’t happen every day on the East Coast, but they happen.” He said our geology is different than that of California, which has frequent quakes. He said it’s impossible to know exactly when a quake will happen, but he did not foresee major aftershocks being felt in New Hampshire.

 

Author

  • Stacy Milbouer

    Stacy Milbouer is an award-winning journalist and has covered New Hampshire for many publications including the Boston Globe, New Hampshire Magazine, and the Nashua Telegraph.

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