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Tuesday's Earthquake Equals Biggest in New England in 30 Years

New England is home to regular earthquake activity.

 

The 4.0 magnitude earthquake centered in Lake Arrowhead, Maine early Tuesday night was felt all over New England, from Maine to Connecticut, including right here in Durham and Middlefield.

It was the largest earthquake in New England since 1982 when a 4.7 quake  centered in Laconia, New Hampshire shook homes and rattled shelves.

Dr. John Ebel, a geophysics professor at Boston College and director of the Weston Observatory Boston College, said earthquakes start to cause damage when they reach a 5.0 magnitude.

As far Tuesday’s quake goes, he suspects that homes near the epicenter may have had some dishes rattle and cracking in old plaster walls.

New England is no stranger to earthquake activity.

The last earthquake to reach the 4.0 threshold was in 2006, a 4.0 quake in Bar Harbor, Maine. And a grand-daddy of New England quakes dates to 1755.

That quake is estimated to have been a 6.25 shaker and was felt throughout New England. In 1925, a 6.2 quake struck in Canada and was felt in New England, as well.

So, what is the potential for a big one, a California-esque quake in staid New England?

Dr. Ebel said such a quake could happen here.

Any place in the world that experiences regular earthquake activity is at risk for a major quake at some point.

When he says some point, he is speaking geologically, which means it could hit tomorrow or a month from now or in 10 year or in a hundred or more years.

But the potential exists.

And as far as aftershocks from tonight’s quake, he said there is potential for aftershocks close to the center over the next day or two.

He does not expect that people south of Maine would feel the aftershocks.

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