SPARTA, NJ – An earthquake registering 2.7 on the Richter scale impacted New Jersey in Bernardsville earlier today at 3:41 a.m. with the aftereffects reportedly touching some sections of Sparta Township in Sussex County.
Sparta Police reported that nearly 1,246 residents in town were without power this morning and at about 6 a.m. there were still 906 customers without power there. The outage commenced at about 4 a.m. Power was restored at 9:10 a.m., with it initially predicted by 9:30 a.m.
Bernardsville and Sparta are nearly 30 miles apart, yet residents in Sparta complained of power outages throughout the township, with even businesses like the 7-11 experiencing blackout conditions earlier in the morning.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) explained that though earthquakes are less common on the east coast of the United States versus the west, when one strikes on the eastern part of the country, it impacts a wider area. For example, an earthquake that is 4.0 on the scale can stretch nearly 60 miles in impact, the tremors causing about ten times greater an impact than one that would hit the west coast.
Historically, some of the damaging earthquakes in the area that New Jersey has been impacted included an 1884 quake in New York City with a 5.5 magnitude that knocked down chimneys in both the city and New Jersey. Another one that had a direct impact was along New Jersey’s coastline in 1927, damaging chimneys along the seaboard from Long Branch to Asbury Park.
Some of the other quakes felt within New Jersey’s history were not even in New Jersey or New York, such as the quake in Cape Ann Mass. in 1755, with a 6.0 magnitude. That “strong” category of quake took down buildings in Boston and triggered a tsunami in the West Indies. Another in New Madrid Mo. struck between 1811 and 1812 in a series of four quakes that changed the Mississippi’s course, destroyed the town at the epicenter and caused damage in Chicago with an 8.0 to 8.8 range – this type is considered “Great” and about one each year is now expected. Charleston, SC’s earthquake in 1886 with the 7.7 “Major” category on the Richter scale killed 60 and knocked down more than 10,000 chimneys along the coastline.
Statistically, the earthquake from this morning was considered a “very minor” quake, with approximately 1,000 daily with that intensity throughout the world.
Most recently in New Jersey, Fairfield has clocked in two quakes this year, with one on March 27 and the other on July 12, each with a 1.2 magnitude. Those quakes are under the “very minor” category and are common, with about 8,000 each day every year occurring on earth.
One of the more major earthquakes that impacted the New Jersey area was on August 23, 2011 in Richmond, Va., with the quake causing buildings to shake in New Jersey, with some residents reporting falling dishes in their home at that time in Sussex County from the tremors. That quake caused rooftops to crumble in Washington, D.C. with a 5.8 magnitude. That type of earthquake falls into the “moderate” category, with those types less frequent, with approximately 800 each year of that magnitude across the world.
The quake this morning rattled through what is known as the Ramapo Fault that passes through the area when the epicenter was in Morris County, with the fault crossing from Pennsylvania through New Jersey to New York’s Westchester County.
According to experts, when an earthquake rocks the New Jersey area, most of the state is impacted as well as New York City.
The USGS said that other places where the tremors were detected this morning included: Chester, Denville, Dover, Mendham, Morristown and Randolph. In New York, the city, Staten Island, Monsey and Suffern were other locations.
Some in the Morris and Sussex County areas reported on social media that they had awaken in the middle of the night and could not fall back to sleep, uncertain of what had happened, with one person from the Sussex County area reportedly stating ton Facebook they looked at their clock at 3:44 a.m. after the noise woke them up.
Shortly after the quake one poster in Morris County’s Wharton area asked if others felt the boom and shake. Another asked if it was thunder or something at Picatinny Arsenal. Another said that they thought it might have been thunder after having just watched the meteor shower.
A resident in Lodi suggested they thought it was a truck speeding along on Route 46. A Mount Olive resident said they also felt it and considered it might have been an earthquake, but doubted so. In Long Valley, a resident considered it might have been a falling tree.
One person in the Bernardsville area stated that their home shook for approximately 10 seconds from the quake in a social media post. Another said the tremors were violent to the point that their household woke up. Another described an explosive sound preceding the quakes.
Though the police in that area received calls about the quake, no one reported any injuries or damages. However, experts advise those in that area should still check their homes for potential cracks and damage.
Click New Jersey’s Earthquake Risk page to learn about preparedness before a quake and how to handle the aftermath.
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