A rare event took place early on Wednesday morning in New Jersey when a 3.1 magnitude earthquake struck in East Freehold. Residents of multiple states report feeling the earthquake.
The earthquake hit just before 2 a.m. on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reports. It was centered 1.25 miles south, southeast of the center of East Freehold.
Robert Sanders, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, spoke out about the quake. “That’s a fairly uncommon event magnitude for quakes in this area,” Sanders said.
Sanders continued by explaining that an earthquake causing more significant damage is not likely. “It would be very surprising for us to see anything more than you know, damaged shelves or picture frames falling off of windows,” tells CBS News.
While people across multiple states felt the quake, it may take time to accurately assess the situation. “It will take a few days or weeks before analysts can see if there’s a specific fault line at cause here,” Sanders said.
How Common Are Earthquakes in New Jersey?
According to the geophysicist, only two other quakes came within 10 miles of this location since 1970. A 3.5 magnitude quake hit in 1979. Years later, in 1992, a 3.1 magnitude quake struck.
According to U.S.G.S. seismologist, Susan Hough, earthquakes on the east coast are far less common. However, they tend to be felt over a broader area. Scientists remain unclear exactly as to why but some of the factors possibly include the size and age of buildings on the east coast as well as the nature of tectonic plates.
“The waves are able to reverberate and travel pretty happily out for miles,” Hough said.
In a half-hour span, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office tells NBC New York they received at least 125 calls at the 911 call center. According to the USGS, more than 5,500 people submitted “Felt It” reports online.
[H/T CBS News]