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Earthquake Ripples Through the Rivertowns: Not the First and Probably Not the Last

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May 19, 2023

By Barrett Seaman—

According to the U. S. Geological Survey, a magnitude 2.2 earthquake, centered near the border of Hastings-on-Hudson and Yonkers, was felt—at least by some residents—a few minutes before 2:00 a.m. Friday, May 19.

To be sure, 2.2 is not much of a bang, Richter Scale-wise, but it does indicate that there are fault lines in the Hudson Valley that have produced earthquakes in the past and will probably do so again in the future.

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The epicenter of Friday’s quake was not far from the site of 4.4 quake in 1985 whose fault line ran westward from Greenburgh and intersected with the Hudson near Wickers Creek in Dobbs Ferry. Rivertown residents at the time recalled a big bang that knocked paintings and mirrors from the walls but no serious structural damage. It was, however, felt as far away as Philadelphia, southern Canada and Long Island.


Did You Feel The Earthquake?

See our survey results…


According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), “Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains can cause noticeable ground shaking at much farther distances than comparably-sized earthquakes in the West.” Again, according to USGS, Lamont-Doherty detected 21 quakes in Westchester between 1970 and 1987.

Of particular concern have been tremors near the Indian Point nuclear power plant that sits astride “the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones.” One of them, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, passes within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point.

The vast majority of these events come in at three or less on the Richter Scale. The last “biggie” in the Hudson Valley was back in 1783 and measured 5.3, located somewhere along the Westchester/Putnam border.

From Lamont-Doherty:

All known quakes, greater New York-Philadelphia area, 1677-2004, graded by magnitude (M). Peekskill, N.Y., near Indian Point nuclear power plant, is denoted as Pe.:

 

Quakes located by instruments 1974-2007. Arrows indivcate the Peekskill-Stamford seismic line and Ramapo seismic zone (RSZ), which intersect near Indian Point. Purple numerals indicate distance in kilometers:

 

Results of the survey – 104 submissions:

Did you feel or hear it?
46% Yes – 54% No

If you were asleep, did it wake you?
28% Yes  –  46% No  –  (27% Not Asleep)

Are you aware that there are fault lines right here in the rivertowns?
55% Yes  –  15% No  –  30% No, but I am now

 

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