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Rare 4.8 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles New York City Area, Puzzles Seismologists

Seismologists and geologists expressed surprise at the quake's intensity and location. President Joe Biden spoke with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and said the administration will provide assistance if needed.
Manhattan after Quake
A view of Lower Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry moments after a 4.8-magnitude earthquake struck near New York City on Friday morning. No loss of life or major damage was reported. (Shannon Stapleton/REUTERS)

NEW YORK: New York City was rocked by a 4.8 magnitude earthquake on Friday, the US Geological Survey said. The incident shook buildings and surprised residents in a region that rarely feels strong seismic activity. The earthquake’s epicenter was near Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, the USGS said. It was also felt in northern Pennsylvania and western Connecticut.

Authorities in New York said there were no immediate reports of damage after the earthquake, which was also felt in nearby states. “New Yorkers should go about their normal day,” said New York Mayor Eric Adams.

“We have no reports of anyone who was evacuated or displaced as a result of the earthquake. We’ve received no resource request for municipalities for assistance. Damage assessment is underway throughout our county, and we are beginning to receive reports of structural issues at private property,” said Brayden Fahey, director of public safety and emergency management for Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

President Joe Biden spoke with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy about the earthquake, and the administration will provide assistance if needed, the White House said in a statement.

“This is one of the largest earthquakes on the East Coast in the last century,” said Kathy Hochul, governor of the state of New York.

Some flights were held at area airports in the aftermath of the earthquake but had resumed by 12:30 p.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Residual delays were expected.

The rare occurrence prompted a variety of reactions from New Yorkers.

“It was kind of like being in a drum circle, that vibration,” one resident told Reuters.
The social media team for the iconic Empire State Building posted: “I AM FINE.”

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Meanwhile, at the United Nations headquarters on the Hudson River, a Security Council meeting was temporarily paused after the tremor. The earthquake also temporarily halted some trains and paused flights at some nearby airports, with the Federal Aviation Administration warning of knock-on delays.

Authorities said they would monitor buildings, roads and bridges for any delayed cracking.
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