November 7, 2012

Earthquake rattles just past 4 a.m. Election Day

Magnitude 3.9rumbles from Cornwall, Ontario


---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — An Election Day earthquake rattled the Northeast at 4:05 a.m.

The event was centered about four miles from Hawkesbury, Ontario.

Some people felt it locally, but most slept right through the rumbling jolt.

Situated about 113 miles from Plattsburgh, Hawkesbury is halfway between Montreal and Ottawa, due north of Cornwall.

The U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., registered the trembler at 3.7 on the Richter scale, using data from 32 seismic stations.

Shake reports on the Geological Survey website drew 201 responses from people by midday Tuesday, describing what they felt as “weak” or “light.” Reports were made from 31 cities, including Essex Junction, Vt.

Most people said on the Press-Republican Facebook page that they slept through the shake, although a few reported feeling a little something. 

“Thought I was dreaming,” said Cora Monette of Plattsburgh. “Had just finished feeding my son and went back to bed.”

Nina Rae Provost said the quake had her “wide awake in Lewis.”

The Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismographic Network at Columbia University gauged the quake’s depth at 10 miles below the Earth’s surface.


Stephen Halchuk, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, told James Mennie at the Montreal Gazette Tuesday that it is not terribly unusual to have two medium-sized earthquakes near Montreal in a month’s time.

A magnitude 3.9 quake struck north of Montreal on Oct. 10.

“They’re definitely not on the same fault,” Halchuck said of the two events. “They’re on very small faults that never reach the surface of the Earth. We don’t see a pattern evolving that would tell us something bigger is coming,”

Five small quakes have rumbled the region since late September.

On Sept. 22, a 3.1-magnitude earthquake struck near Clarence, Quebec. 

On Oct. 4, a 2.5-magnitude jolt was measured north of Huntingdon in Canada followed by a 3.9 centered in Beloeil, Canada (some 65 miles northeast) about an hour later that day.

On Oct. 10, at 12:19 a.m., a 3.9-magnitude quake struck 21 miles north of Montreal.

And On Oct. 16 at 7:12 p.m., a 4.0-magnitude quake shook much of the northeast from an epicenter near Waterboro, Maine.

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