A 2.2 magnitude earthquake struck the lower Hudson Valley and parts of northeastern New Jersey early Friday morning, May 19.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the earthquake struck at nearly 2 a.m. about one mile south of Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester County, at a depth of 9.8 kilometers and about three miles north of Yonkers.
A 2.2 magnitude earthquake is a very small earthquake. It is unlikely to cause damage to buildings or infrastructure. However, it may be felt by people in the area and may cause some items to fall off shelves or tables.
Earthquakes of magnitude 2.2 are not uncommon. In fact, there are an estimated 500,000 earthquakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater each year. Most of these shakes are so small that people do not feel them.
It is not uncommon for large earthquakes to occur near New York City. According to Columbia University, the last earthquake of magnitude 5.0 or greater in the area occurred in 1884, causing smokestacks to collapse, USA Today reported.
But even small shakes can be a sign of a bigger one to come.
“It was a small earthquake as earthquakes go, but the crust here is very old, so it may have been felt a little more strongly and over a wider area,” said James Davis, a research professor at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. “A lot of these small magnitude 2 or 1 earthquakes happen because of something local, like a quarry, where you’re moving a lot of mass and weight around.”
The town is about 16 miles from midtown Manhattan, so there is a possibility that people in or near New York City may have felt the quake.
Some people reported being awakened by the 1:53 a.m. rumble and shared their experiences on social media.
One of those voices online happened to be an NBC New York reporter who said she felt a “huge rumble” in Bergen County, New Jersey, and that her house shook.
Not sure what that was! Never felt an earthquake before but – whew that was odd! Our house in NJ shook and heard a loud rumble. Kids slept right through it… https://t.co/WfKoDLgKpN
— Natalie Pasquarella (@Natalie4NY) May 19, 2023