It can happen in New York!

The United States Geological Survey says a small tremor shook parts of the state late Tuesday morning. No damage was reported, though a number of residents said they felt the shaking. While not too overly common, earthquakes have been known to occasionally occur in the New York state. Some geologists even feel that the state is overdue for a much bigger event, that would cause millions of dollars in damage to infrastructure not equipped for earthquakes.

The USGS says the tremor registered a 2.6 on the Richter scale. The quake struck in Wyoming County, about 39 miles southwest of Rochester and 120 miles west of Syracuse.

How Often Do Earthquakes Happen in NY? 

According to the NESEC, around 551 earthquakes were recorded in New York state from 1737 to 2016. Most earthquakes that happen within the state are either far north towards Quebec, in western New York around Lake Ontario, or closer to the New York City area.

The most well-known fault line near our area is the Ramapo fault line. The 185-mile system of faults runs through parts of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and has been known to spawn smaller earthquakes.

But could something as strong as a magnitude 7.0  ever occur on the Ramapo fault line?

Some say this fault system is much more complex and extensive than originally thought. A 2008 study proposed that there may be an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault into southwestern Connecticut. There are also many smaller faults that criss-cross across New York City, and the city could be long overdue for a significant earthquake. 

There is also the Western Quebec Seismic Zone, which can produce larger quakes that can be felt up and down the eastern coast of the United States, particularly for their neighbors directly south in the Empire State. This is where the strongest quakes happen near us.

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