While there were initially reports of explosions and buildings shaking in New York City this morning, USGS confirmed the commotion was created by an earthquake with an epicenter near Roosevelt Island. At 5:45 am from a depth of 3 miles, the magnitude 1.7 earthquake struck. According to USGS, more than 130 people in New York City reported the shaking. Initially, the New York City Fire Department responded to reports of a “building shaking and explosion” in the area of 580 Main Street, which is just south of Roosevelt Island Bridge & Tram. However, it was determined there was no earthquake and the noise and movement experienced in New York City was the result of the earthquake.
A larger earthquake struck outside Washington, DC too this morning. At 12:51 am, USGS reports that a magnitude 2.3 earthquake struck near Rockville, Maryland. That larger earthquake generated more than 2,100 reports to the USGS website via their “Did you feel it?” web reporting tool.
While each of the earthquakes generated a lot of response and interest, there have been no reports of any damage nor injuries.
The magnitude 1.7 earthquake in New York City is now the strongest to occur within the Big Apple since October 2001 when a magnitude 2.4 event struck. Today’s earthquake is the 8th to strike New York since 1970. The most recent, most closest earthquake to today’s was a weak magnitude 0.9 magnitude event which struck near Long Island City in June 2019.
The Washington, DC area is also no stranger to earthquakes. A potent, memorable magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck central Virginia in 2011, causing major damage to buildings and monuments around Virginia and Washington DC. That 2011 earthquake was also felt through portions of the Mid Atlantic including in downtown Philadelphia and New York City.