New England Coast Hit by Magnitude 3.6 Earthquake

by Jennifer Shea

A 3.6-magnitude earthquake hit southern New England off the coast of New Bedford near Buzzards Bay, about 58 miles southeast of Boston.

The earthquake had a depth of about 9.3 miles and reverberated across southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the Associated Press reported.

Earthquake Causes No Major Damage

The shaking began around 9:10 a.m. but only lasted for about 10 seconds, according to

Nobody claimed major damage from the quake. However, the U.S. Geological Survey got more than 19,000 reports about the earthquake via the “Did You Feel It?” tool on the survey’s website.

New England has seen 26 earthquakes over the past 57 years. This was one of the bigger ones.

Still, Don Blakeman, a geophysicist for the Geological Survey based in Colorado, says that this was just a minor quake by West Coast Standards.

“It’s a bit unusual for southern New England, that’s for sure,” Blakeman told “This may be the strongest one recorded in this area. A 3.6 in California is a fairly common occurrence and people don’t think much about it. People [who are not] accustomed to that are going to think it’s a much bigger deal.”

New England residents might not see it California’s way, however. People there certainly noticed the quake.

“In terms of effects, a lot of people felt it,” Blakeman said. “It wasn’t strong enough to do structural damage. But close to the epicenter, things may have fallen off shelves.”

Area Due for Aftershocks

Residents in the area might experience an aftershock in the next 24 hours, he added. An aftershock is a lower-magnitude earthquake that results from the sudden shift in stress within and between rocks from the major earthquake itself.

Fox News reported that earthquakes on the East Coast tend to be distributed over a broader area. That’s because the seismic waves travel farther and because of the older rock formations.