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Aftershocks from Northeast earthquake could continue for a week, seismologists say

Safety inspections continue across Tri-State Area following earthquake
Safety inspections continue across Tri-State Area following earthquake 02:00

NEW YORK -- Aftershocks in the New York City area could continue for a week after one of the East Coast's strongest earthquakes in 100 years

The 4.8 magnitude earthquake centered in Readington Township, New Jersey rattled homes and buildings across the Northeast at 10:23 a.m. Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. 

The earthquake was followed by 32 aftershocks, according to the USGS, including one measured at 3.8 almost seven and a half hours later. All of the aftershocks were centered in New Jersey, but were felt across the East Coast. Seismologists expect more aftershocks over the next week, especially near the epicenter.

"While aftershocks are a concern for this first 24, 36, 72-hour period out to about a week, the entire East Coast is a seismically active area. But most of the earthquakes are relatively small," said Dax Soule, a seismologist and assistant professor at Queens College.

According to authorities, there were no injuries and no major damage to bridges, tunnels or buildings, but inspections continue across the region Saturday.

Late Saturday, CBS New York learned a Brooklyn middle school's gym was deemed unsafe after a Department of Buildings inspection found cracks inside. The rest of the school at 370 Fountain Ave. is OK.

Watch John Dias' report

Seismologists expect more aftershocks in New York City area 03:11

There were reports of minor damage in the Tri-State Area.  

In Readington, which is approximately 45 miles west of New York City, a tree came crashing down and the upper portion of the Historic Grist Mill, built in 1760, collapsed after the initial jolt. Crews also responded to dozens of reported gas leaks

"It sounded like 10 freight trains going at the same time, and I heard, it felt like the house jumped, and then I thought, 'What was that?' And then it started to shake," said Mary Heidersberger.

"It was very scary. It sounded like something a bomb had gone off," said Anne Owen.

In Newark, New Jersey, the earthquake caused power outages and three homes were briefly deemed unsafe before inspectors allowed residents to go back inside. There were fears the foundations had shifted.

By Saturday, power had been restored to all three homes and all families were able to sleep in their own beds.

The earthquake was also blamed for a water main break that sent water gushing into the middle of a street in Randolph, New Jersey. 

"It was like a fountain, like a geyser. Just water spewing up," said Lisa Narcise. 

There are some questions over New York City's response time to the earthquake. A phone emergency alert was sent about 25 minutes after the quake.

Zachary Iscol, commissioner of New York City Emergency Management, stood behind their response.

"Twenty minutes is very, very fast for a public notification," he said.

But in California, where quakes are common, alerts can happen 10 seconds before an earthquake.

Of course, there are some people who say they didn't feel any of Friday's tremors -- and then there were businesses capitalizing off of it, selling t-shirts saying "I survived the New York City earthquake."

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