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USGS: 4.1 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Parts Of Delaware Valley

DOVER, Del. (CBS) -- A 4.1 magnitude earthquake rattled parts of the Delaware Valley on Thursday night.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake happened roughly six miles east northeast of Dover, Delaware.

Residents across Delaware, Philadelphia, and New Jersey reported feeling the quake. The earthquake was felt as far north as New York and as far south as Baltimore.

"My house shook for about seven seconds," said Nancy Burkley, who felt the quake in Westampton Township, New Jersey.

Yardley, Pennsylvania resident Mary Bracken felt her house shake.

"I just sat on my bed on second floor of my house and it shook, house vibrated," said Bracken. "My husband felt it in next room too. It was like road construction out front except we aren't having any road construction"

People in the Dover area also reported buildings were shaking during the tremor.

"I live just a few miles south of Dover and my home rattled pretty good and I could hear the rumble as well," said Dover Police Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman, adding that everything seems to be running smoothly in Dover.

A few miles away in Dover, restaurant owner Diana Welch was getting ready for a busy night inside the Grey Fox Grille when at 4:47 pm things took a bizarre turn.

"It was very brief but it was very intense so we knew it wasn't a semi. It was a little different than a normal semi driving by," she said. "We were just looking at each other like we thought maybe a big plane from Dover Air-Force base had come down."

Surveillance video shows people relaxing at the bar when the 4.1 magnitude quake hit. You can see heads turn before everyone quickly left. Dover residents say the shaking lasted maybe 5-10 seconds.

"I looked around at my coworkers and everyone was wide-eyed. We all went outside because we thought something might have hit the building," said Christopher Chambers.

Dolores Argyrou, the mother of CBS3 reporter Greg Argos and a Dover resident, told Eyewitness News that the earthquake was "very unsettling."

"I actually felt a trembling underground. I was in my house and it was a loud explosion-type sound," she explained.

Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the USGS, says there is potential for aftershocks.

"Aftershocks are a possibility with this quake," said Caruso. "Usually the largest aftershocks we see in a series is about 1 magnitude smaller than the main earthquake."

According to Franklin Institute's Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts, there's a good reason why smaller East Coast earthquakes are often felt by a large geographical region.

"The bedrock that underlies all the soil here extends up and down the East Coast to fair degree. Any kind of vibration of this kind of magnitude that occurs in that bedrock can be felt up and down the East Coast," he says.

Sgt. Rene Carberry, a spokeswoman at Dover Air Force Base, said people on the military installation felt the tremor; some went outside to see if something had fallen down. Carberry, who is from the West Coast, said she told co-workers, "I'm pretty sure this is an earthquake."

Carberry said there were no signs of damage at the base, and no change in operations was expected.

For some area residents, the event stirred memories of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake — centered in Louisa County, Virginia — that rocked much of the eastern United States in August 2011. The impact of that quake included damage to the Washington Monument and National Cathedral in Washington, both of which are still undergoing repairs.

No injuries or damage has been reported across the Delaware Valley.


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