Biggest Earthquake in 18 Years Shakes New York Region

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


A 3.9 magnitude earthquake shook the New York City region earlier today.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the tremor occurred in the Atlantic Ocean, about 80 miles off the coast of Southhampton on Long Island, around 10:45 Tuesday morning. The earthquake wasn't big enough to do any damage or hurt anyone, and the U.S. Coast guard said there is no threat of a tsunami. It was the biggest earthquake for our area in 18 years.

Art Lerner-Lam, a seismologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said the quake was felt across the metropolitan area, according to reports received by the observatory. "Many of those reports indicated that people felt the earthquake by seeing chandeliers swing, by hearing windows rattling. A lot of reports said that it sounded as if a truck had just passed," he said. "That's very common for an earthquake of this size and at that distance."

Neither the Southampton Police Department, nor the Chamber of Commerce reported feeling any tremors. But two of WNYC's twitter followers reported feeling it in Brooklyn. Jonathan Berk, an editor, said he felt it while working at home in Ditmas Park. He told WNYC he was standing when he felt the floor move beneath his feet.

"It was a few seconds of mild shaking, not as regular as when a subway passes, and I don't usually feel the subway like that in my apartment." Berk said it was the first earthquake he'd ever felt, and that it was fun, in retrospect.

Lerner-Lam also said the earthquake is not as unusual as you may think. He said there have been five earthquakes in the same area in the past 20 years, including a 4.7 magnitude quake in 1992. "This area has been popping off pretty consistently, and this earthquake really comes as no surprise to those of us monitoring," he said. "Across the New York metropolitan area, and in fact throughout the northeast, earthquakes continue to occur."

A seismogram of the earthquake, courtesy Lamont-Doherty Observatory, Columbia University:


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Comments [70]

alex from new york

heeey I had an earthquakes in new York it sux but u have to live with but then I moved to Texas its hole big different up like dam 1 a huge tornado came dam I was telling my parents dam scary as hell

May. 16 2014 01:43 PM
Sk8er kool kid 13 from New York City

The August 23 earthquake was caused by the eastern north american rift system that runs from Virginia to Quebec. It contains many fault lines some are even in the NYC area.

Oct. 26 2011 06:32 PM
Zachary from New York City

People from California have experienced earthquakes and there are rarely any earthquakes in NYC at all, so that's why we're surprised. California is on a fault line, NYC is not. So shut up and respect our opinions, and stop saying things like, "BIG DEAL", and like, "East Coasters can't handle earthquakes" and all because NYC BARELY has any earthquakes. You had your experiences, we haven't had ours yet.

Sep. 05 2011 09:12 AM
cole from Sandy creek new York

it's not the end of the world it wasn't that big of a deal calm down continue to stop looking for something to be worried about

Aug. 24 2011 02:19 AM
Jesus from Heaven

Hey folks,
Jesus here. Just wanted to let you know, I had nothing to do with today's earthquake. Instead, I'm going to teach Eric from Colorado how to read and write after reading his post. Dearest member of my flock, please better educate yourself before you make all Christians look like morons. Nuts, too late. Even I'm switching to Buddhism.

Aug. 23 2011 10:18 PM
James D from Glens falls NY

I was getting weddy 4 ma turkey and giblets and the ground gave a shaky. I got weally scared and turned on the CNN and wolfy said the quack center was in a virgin so I wasnt scared no mo.

Aug. 23 2011 08:41 PM

To all those who bible people going on about 'the time is nigh stuff, repent etc'. Jesus has not been been with us for over 2000 years, you can't keep blaming this stuff on him or his dad!

Aug. 23 2011 07:41 PM

It was just a 5.8 Grow a pair and go back to work. don't stand out in the park and look up

Aug. 23 2011 07:38 PM

earth quakes happen its natural noone knows wen the end comes accept the father dumb ass humans trying to make a big outta nothing get a job get a life friggin potheads

Aug. 23 2011 07:37 PM
Sarah from Crown Hts.

Felt it in Brooklyn-- I felt motion sickness, and the desk shook for 15 or 20 seconds.

Aug. 23 2011 06:33 PM
Public Service Announcement

Please be advised that this is not about today's earthquake, but one that happened nearly nine months ago, in November of last year.

Aug. 23 2011 04:15 PM
Anthony from NY

Idiots read the date of the article before you post about today.

Aug. 23 2011 04:14 PM
Tamara from new york

omg we felt it on long island was really scary

Aug. 23 2011 03:00 PM
boniaru28 from Brighton Beach

Felt in Brooklyn Brighton Beach

Aug. 23 2011 02:43 PM
ana from slingerlands

felt it about 14:00 in albany ny

Aug. 23 2011 02:42 PM
Pam leary from Florida /Texas

Hang in there New Yorkers.... :)

Aug. 23 2011 02:40 PM

Felt the eartquake here about 45 minutes ago. did anyone else feel it. Live in Queens.

Aug. 23 2011 02:32 PM
mubtasim from NY

First time felt a earthquake, it was at least 6.0 rocked back and forth a lot

Aug. 23 2011 02:16 PM
sk8ter koolkid 13 from New York City

we should be getting a quake somewhere around a 5.6 sometime soon, perhaps in 2012 thats what those dumb mayans would predict.

Mar. 25 2011 12:56 PM

Ny don't even ha ha about the andres fault because your smack right in the middle plate! We go down guess what! Your coming with us! Cali! don't toot your horn so high because you were crying like a bunch of b*tchs when northridge hit! Ny best ppl best food & night life! Cali most beautiful place in the world! best weather! best landscapes! Your even! Now! stop worrying about who is better & worry more about being prepared! Don't even try it cali living in earthquake country you should know better! spoke my peace!

Mar. 18 2011 03:05 AM

BTW this is coming from someone who was born & raised in ny who now resides in cali. Yes! I've been through the northridge quake right by the epicenter! So don't even try it cali! Ny your no better! You have fault lines all underneath manhattan! Where there is one there is many others capable of alot more than a 3! I am beyond sick & tired of the east & the west coast turning this into an east coast west coast thing! This is a worldly thing! Grow up!

Mar. 18 2011 02:53 AM

Wow! california I am surprised @ you! Being through quakes you also know that where they're are lil one's big one's follow! Newyork who is in denial you better type newyork earthquakes in your search engine you'll see the light! Your not as safe as you think you are! I think that about shuts both coasts up!

Mar. 18 2011 02:41 AM
Jonathan from West coast

Sept 11th (NY), Jan 11th (Haiti), March 11th (Japan). Luke 21:10-11. Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Nations will rise against nations & kingdoms against kingdoms. There will be great earthquakes, famines & pestilences in various places & fearful events & great signs from heaven. Jesus says for behold I come quickly". So ask yourself, are you ready?

Mar. 15 2011 06:31 PM
Carol from Hackensack NJ

There definitely was an earthquake in Hackensack. There are cracks in the foundation of my house, and the earth dissapeared around the pool. Im waiting for the insurance company and a engineer to evaluate everything.

Dec. 03 2010 10:10 PM
Bill C from New Jersey

Actually East Coast Eartquakes feel stronger than West Coast ones. For example, a magnitude 5 in San Jose, CA would be moderately felt in San Francisco (about ..., 45 miles away) with almost no major damage to structures. If you were in an office building sitting down, you'd probably feel a bit of swaying, however if you were walking about, you may not even feel it. In contrast, a magnitude 5 in the east coast could be felt for several hundred miles. In addition to efficient wave propagation, the earthquakes in the east coast tend to radiate much more energy at higher frequencies than those in the west coast (we call this "stress-drop" in earthquake parlance). What this means for those in the east coast is that smaller structures (i.e., homes and small buildings) could experience about a factor of 5 more shaking. The final distinction between the two coasts is of course building practice and codes. In the west coast, all modern structures are designed to withstand strong lateral shaking and are flexible (to help dissipate the wave energy) and for older structures they are often retrofitted. East coast homes, especially the older ones, are usually stiffer and could likely be made of masonry which will not fare well during an earthquake, even if the earthquake is not that large.

Dec. 01 2010 09:30 PM
Raven's Quest

It seems that there is a lota jumping back and forth!
BigRob-yes that activity is gona grow, along the plate in your region! to understand one must abserve all the activity, around the Ring of Fire! The rebound process gives good insight to this!
Remembering that it will acccure not by the time of man!

Dec. 01 2010 05:37 PM
Rie from New York

wow what comments. well to all the californians, sorry id rather NOT have any earthquakes at all but if yous want to laugh, enjoy it. =] keep your earthquakes, mudslides and wild fires. really. new york doesnt get many natural disasters, and we'll keep it that way. thanks

Dec. 01 2010 04:05 PM

....while its true that we out here on the west coast probably wouldnt even have noticed a 3.9, everythings relative....we dont have to contend with tornadoes as the mid west does, or blizzards as new york does so i think it all evens thing though.....we out here are way overdue for a real whopper, so when you people hear of us being hit by a 7.8 or better, say a prayer......

Dec. 01 2010 02:49 PM
Bob from New York.

All these tough talking Californians-so the ground shakes out by you, so the mudslides and the wildfires rage... try catching a crosstown bus in February. I dare you.

Dec. 01 2010 02:45 PM
Mark from Hollywood CA

To Eric from Colorado:
As one old atheist once said, "People think we atheists have not read the Bible. We have read the Bible; that's why we're atheists."

Dec. 01 2010 02:22 PM
Eric from colorado

Oppions are like ass holes every body has 1 , how-ever the bible doesnt lie people , maybe you non believers should pic 1 up some time an flip to the bck an read revalations , you just might be shocked at what you just read an whats going on in the real world

Dec. 01 2010 02:06 PM
Richard from funky south

The earthquake is gonna' come when Prince starts playing his "Welcome 2 America" Tour in N. York. :)

Dec. 01 2010 01:36 PM

Big deal, the real story would be if it were centered on Jersey Shore and wiped out Snookie and all the rest of that scum. Seriously would anyone miss those douche-bags?

Dec. 01 2010 01:04 PM
Judith from HAWAII


Dec. 01 2010 12:25 PM
td from New York, NY

to the laid back folks in Cali who laugh at New York's tiny earthquake I say this: perspective is everything. I was at the World Trade Center when the towers collapsed. For me the earth shook then and shakes forever.

Dec. 01 2010 11:43 AM
barbara patch

i've lived in san francisco for 34 years...earthquakes are no joke. Saying that, my mom was born & raised in Manhattan...she used to tell everyone she was born during an earthquake...people made fun of her.."earthquake in NYC?"......they can and will be prepared.

Dec. 01 2010 09:34 AM
LD from CT

I felt it and I'm in East Lyme, CT (CT shoreline). I lived in San Fran. for 5 yrs. and I know an earthquake when one is going on...and I felt the little one that happened yesterday. No biggie. It was over in a few seconds.

Dec. 01 2010 09:21 AM
Laurie Ann Hover

We are entering an exciting and terrifying time. Has anyone been paying attention to the 2012 predictions or the predictions of the Bible or Nostradamus?? Only the future will be able to answer these questions. Many places all over the world are experiencing earthquakes, even areas that historically have had no activity. I do believe that it is building up to something bigger. According to the Bible there will be rumors of wars and earthquakes and it will come quicker and quicker like a woman's labor pains. Labor pains also get more intense. I can't point to where a Bible prediction as been wrong yet. Look up to the sky. The Bible has also spoke of the moon looking like the color of blood red in the Bible. I have noticed at different times within the last couple of years that I have seen the moon at night and it has looked pink at different times. According to the Bible when this happens it means the end is coming. Only the future will tell.....

Dec. 01 2010 04:39 AM
redpuma from NYC

What all you who made comments about its no big deal, fail to understand is if we in NY felt a 3.9 we could probably feel a 7.9 and if that were the case, kiss the American economy good bye as well as your lay back west coast asses good bye.....cheers

Dec. 01 2010 03:17 AM
heather from Los Angeles

It really amazes me across all these post how egocentric the comments are! I am an L.A. native, and have endured the Northridge (and even the Agoura --dating myself here). Know better now thn to invest in anything breakable. Can't you get into the mind of someone who is not used to the earth shaking and sympathize? We would probably not even notice it, but things are relative, folks. Normally the earth is pretty steady on the east coast (steady like the people over there). Don't talk like morons, please. We have a bad enough reputation already!

Dec. 01 2010 02:29 AM
KL from CA

Really? 3.9? Are you kidding me! Lol we get those all the time, i'd like to see these New Yorkers go through a 6.5 then post it!!

-KL from West Coast California

Dec. 01 2010 01:57 AM
Jason from Arcata


Dec. 01 2010 01:48 AM
bom from los angeles

hahahahah 3.9 thats it lol we get that couple times a year
man come the west side n cruise it with the quakes

Dec. 01 2010 01:34 AM
A Lopez from San Ysidro, CA

I'm surprised anyone felt anything or that it got so much media attention. I'm from Southern Cali just a hop and step away from the border. Now the 7.2 baja earthquake on Easter Sunday was something to talk about!

Dec. 01 2010 01:29 AM

WHAT? What do you mean earthquakes are not fun? I freaking love 'em. I live in southern Calif. if you understand them, you know how to survive them.
MT St. Helen was nothing, just got my car dirty, big Yellowstone blowing scares the crap out of me, but thank God it will mostly effect towards the North, Northwest, mostly towards the east and south and hit maybe the east side of L.A., but on the charts, Huntington, doesn't touch it, so we just make it to survive. Same with the big freeze, so. cali san diego, untouched and just the southern tip of Texas won't be frozen too. So looks like most of you people will see another universe somewhere else while we rebuild here a better green planet with no crime.

Dec. 01 2010 01:25 AM

Wow what is your earthquake kit a wooden chair and a bottle of booze. Jeeze people really have to chime in about anything they can to make time fly. I almost died also but i dont sit and brag about it on the net. The world is turning over once again, and i hate to tell you people we are all F'ED!!!!!!! Grab your ankles and say a pray!

Dec. 01 2010 12:16 AM
christina from nyc

i dont think anyones trying to compare this to what people who go through a major earthquake experience.. its just a bit of news. anyway, none of us felt a thing.. i would never have known anything happened if it wasnt for the

Nov. 30 2010 11:54 PM
The Yakima Kid from USA

Earthquakes aren't fun; even if you've been through one before. But nothing compares with a volcano - I remember what Mt. St. Helens used to look like - before it got up and walked away.

Nov. 30 2010 11:53 PM
DeeDee from Silicon Valley

Yawn! A 3.9 is nothing. As the article states, it's like a truck driving by. When you have a 6.5 or bigger, then you'll have something to talk about. I was in Mexico City in 1985 for the BIG one, San Jose for Loma Prieta in 1989 and multiple smaller ones in between. We have our earthquake survival kit, and are happy to live in San Andreas country. There is no better place!

Nov. 30 2010 11:44 PM

east coast people can't handle

Nov. 30 2010 11:30 PM

No, it is not the end of the world - just natural process of the movement of tectonic plates! That's all. But bigger and stronger may follow in years to come! :-)

Nothimg to be afraid...

Nov. 30 2010 11:29 PM
BigRob from Ocean City, Maryland

I wonder if this means that the plates off the east coast of the U.S. are going to be more active in the future?

Nov. 30 2010 11:28 PM
earthquake survivor from shelter island

I was in Southampton Town all day and did not feel a thing. I remember feeling the 1992 quake in East Quogue as a kid.

Nov. 30 2010 11:15 PM

NY IS ALWAYS SHAKING {{{{}{}{}{}{}{{

Nov. 30 2010 11:05 PM
Jbro319 from HEAVEN


Nov. 30 2010 10:58 PM

I didn't notice anything, nor did anyone I know.

Nov. 30 2010 10:44 PM
John from Los Angeles

3.9 is nothing. Try a 6.9 then we'll talk.

Nov. 30 2010 10:38 PM

I firmly agree with Mark.

Nov. 30 2010 10:14 PM

I firmly believe that everything EAST of the San Andreas Fault will fall into the ocean.

Nov. 30 2010 09:28 PM

i agree with alot of the readers here a 3. anything we would not even feel, has to be at least a 5 to notice.

Nov. 30 2010 09:15 PM
Erik from West Coast (where real earthquakes happen)

Psshhh. If its not at least a 6.0 then its not an earthquake.

Nov. 30 2010 07:43 PM

Is it obama's response to wikileaks?

Nov. 30 2010 06:50 PM
Brett Deveau from North Billerica, MA

Does a 3.9 magnitude earthquake mean a marginal amount of people might have gotten better sex? I do not even think the people in California would notice.

Nov. 30 2010 06:47 PM
Roy M Cooper from Phoenix

"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."

Luke 21:28

Nov. 30 2010 06:28 PM
Maynard from Arizona Bay

Mom's gonna fix it all soon.
Mom's comin' round to put it back the way it ought to be.

Learn to swim.

Nov. 30 2010 05:43 PM
Pink from Ground Control

Goodbye, cruel world, it's over
Walk on by.

Nov. 30 2010 05:38 PM
Pink from Ground Control

Goodbye, cruel world, it's over
Walk on by.

Nov. 30 2010 05:36 PM
Vic from Earthquake City (San Francisco)

Earth to Major Tom-
Stay in orbit...We are goners!

Nov. 30 2010 05:36 PM

its the end of the world as we know it

Nov. 30 2010 05:26 PM
O.Hag from WI


Nov. 30 2010 05:14 PM

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