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Rare earthquake strikes New Jersey, shaking reported across state

A magnitude 3.1 earthquake struck in East Freehold, New Jersey, early Wednesday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Residents took to social media to express their shock at the rare occurrence as numerous reports of shaking have been reported across the state and in New York City.

Hundreds of people as far away as Philadelphia and Long Island, New York, contributed to the USGS' "Did You Feel It?" map, reporting only weak or light shaking and no damage.
 


"It would be very surprising for us to see anything more than you know, damaged shelves or picture frames falling off of windows," said Robert Sanders, a geophysicist with the survey.    

NJ.com reports that on Aug. 23, 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in central Virginia shook buildings in New Jersey. It was one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in the eastern U.S.

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The earthquake struck southeast of East Freehold.  USGS

East Coast earthquakes are far less common than in the West, but they tend to be felt over a broad area.

"The waves are able to reverberate and travel pretty happily out for miles," said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough.

The USGS said the earthquake was centered 1.25 miles south, southeast of the center of East Freehold. It hit just before 2 a.m.

"That's a fairly uncommon event magnitude for quakes in this area," Sanders said. Since 1970, there have been two other quakes within 10 miles of this location, a 3.5 in 1979 and a 3.1 in 1992, he said.  

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