An earthquake of 3.8 magnitude jolted the residents of Buffalo and western New York on Monday morning. The earthquake, which was centered east of Buffalo in West Seneca, sent people running to their windows and then to social media to find out what had happened. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred nearly 2 miles below the surface and was the strongest to hit the region in at least 40 years.
"Felt Like a Car Hit My House": Erie County Executive's Reaction
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted that the earthquake felt like a car hitting his house in Buffalo. The earthquake was felt in at least a 30-mile radius, including in Niagara Falls, and was confirmed by Erie County emergency services officials. Earthquake Canada measured the event at 4.2 magnitude and reported that it was felt slightly in southern Ontario.
Record-Breaking Weather Events Followed by an Earthquake
The earthquake in Buffalo and western New York comes after two record-breaking weather events in the region. A snowstorm in November dropped as much as 7 feet of snow, while a blizzard in December claimed 47 lives. Earthquakes in New York State are not uncommon, with the state's largest earthquake reported on September 5, 1944, near Massena in St. Lawrence County. The 5.8-magnitude earthquake was felt from Canada to Maryland and caused $2 million in damage in Massena and Cornwall, Canada.
Recent Earthquakes in Western New York
Buffalo and western New York have experienced several minor earthquakes in recent years. A 1.2-magnitude earthquake hit Le Roy in Genesee County in August 2022, a 2.6-magnitude earthquake struck near Warsaw in Wyoming County in March 2022, and a 2.4-magnitude earthquake struck Tuscarora in southwestern Livingston County in May 2021. A magnitude-5.1 earthquake centered 45 miles northwest of Ottawa, Canada, also caused a rumble in Rochester on May 17, 2003.
The 3.8-magnitude earthquake in Buffalo and western New York caused alarm among residents but no significant damage. The earthquake was the strongest to hit the region in at least 40 years and was felt in a 30-mile radius, including in Niagara Falls. Although earthquakes are not uncommon in New York State, the recent event serves as a reminder of the potential impact of seismic activity in the region.
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