Earthquake shakes US Northeast, impacts New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, others

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. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

In a sudden upheaval that shattered the morning calm, the northeastern United States was rocked by a powerful earthquake in the early hours of Friday.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 4.8 magnitude quake was centred 7 kilometres north of Whitehouse Station, N.J., about 50 miles west of New York City, at a depth of 4.7 kilometres.

It could be felt as far as south as Washington, D.C., and as far north as Boston.

Ground stops were issued at numerous airports including Newark, JFK and BWI Airport in Maryland while crews assessed any potential structural damage. New Jersey Transit said rail service was subjected to up to 20-minute delays in both directions “due to bridge inspections” following the earthquake.

But there were no service disruptions to Amtrak or the NYC subway system.

Many New York City residents took to social media to report feeling their apartments shaking.

Anne-Marie Greene, an anchor for CBS News, said that “it felt like a subway train was passing through the studio.”

ALSO READ: Taiwan earthquake: Death toll rises to 10, over 1,000 injured, dozens trapped

“That was my 2nd Manhattan earthquake & longer than any earthquake I’ve experienced in LA,” MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell wrote on X.

The White House said President Biden had been briefed on the earthquake and that the administration was in touch with federal, state and local officials.

At a press briefing, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said there were no reports of damage, and that his team was still assessing the impact.

The city sent an emergency alert at 11:02 a.m. — about 40 after the earthquake struck. A second alert warned NYC residents of potential aftershocks. 

ALSO READ: 3 things to do during an earthquake

At an earlier briefing, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said that her team was continuing to assess critical infrastructure, including roads and bridges, for any potential damage.

Hochul said she had been in touch with the White House, and that a representative with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who had reached out told her that he felt the earthquake in Baltimore.

“It’s been a fairly unsettling day, to say the least,” Hochul said.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that his office activated the state’s emergency operations centre to assess any potential damage.

“Please do not call 911 unless you have an actual emergency,” Murphy added.

🔎 How common are earthquakes in the northeast?

“Earthquakes are uncommon but not unheard of along the Atlantic Coast,” the U.S. Geographical Survey explained in a post on X.

According to the U.S.G.S., Friday’s 4.8 magnitude earthquake was the strongest to hit New Jersey in nearly 250 years.

It came two days after a 7.4 magnitude rocked Taiwan, leaving at least 10 people dead, nearly 1,000 injured and hundreds of others trapped.