Overnight earthquake jolts Massena, Eastern Ontario

In this screen grab from the U.S. Geological Survey website, a star marks the epicenter of a magnitude 3.3 earthquake that struck Northern New York State and SD&G on Saturday Nov. 28, 2015 around 12:15 a.m. There are no reports of damage. (USGS via Newswatch Group)

MASSENA, N.Y.  – People across Eastern Ontario, Akwesasne and Northern New York State were roused from their beds just after midnight after a quick but powerful earthquake struck the region.

The quick jolt, following by five of six seconds of light shaking happened around 12:15 a.m.

Randy Baldwin of the USGS National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo. told Brockville Newswatch at 3.1 miles (five kilometers) below the surface, the quake was very shallow.

“That’s a pretty standard depth that is used to (measure) earthquakes in this area,” Baldwin said.

The geophysicist explained the preliminary data of 3.7 on the Richter scale is usually an estimate before other data comes in and the results get revised.

As of 1:15 a.m. that data had been revised to a magnitude 3.3 quake.

The USGS data shows the earthquake could have been felt as far west as Prescott.

“You get an initial sharper shock. That’s the P-wave arrival and then there’s usually a brief lag time before the slower travelling S-wave follows it and the S-wave would be more of the ground shaking so that’s the second part that you felt,” Baldwin said.

The USGS received roughly 130 reports within a 50 mile (80 kilometer) radius of the epicenter.

The earthquake was centered about 1.2 miles (two kilometers) southeast of Cornwall.

“None of the intensities that were reported are of a damaging nature or anything like that but in this particular area quakes tend to get felt over longer distances in the north-central and northeast areas of the U.S. and into Canada,” Baldwin told BNW.

The USGS had one report from Alexandria, northeast of Cornwall, of an intensity of 2.0. “Most of them were in Northern New York, about 130 responses,” he said.

As for any aftershocks, Baldwin said it can happen. “A lot of quakes have occurred in this area, so it’s not uncommon to get quakes in this area. When you get a little quake, sometimes  you might get several of them over a couple days … sometimes they occur,” he said.

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