What is the Chance of a Big Earthquake in New England?
Police and fire officials in Concord report plenty of inquiries, but no quake-related responses from the Oct. 18 earthquake. But what are the chances of a big earth shaker in New England?
New Englanders from Maine to Massachusetts and perhaps as far away as Rhode Island felt the 4.6 magnitude earthquake centered in Lake Arrowhead, Maine early Tuesday night.
It was the largest earthquake in New England since 1982 when a 4.7 quake centered in Laconia, New Hampshire shook homes and rattled shelves.
Dr. John Ebel, a geophysics professor at Boston College and director of the Weston Observatory Boston College, said earthquakes start to cause damage when they reach a 5.0 magnitude.
As far as the Oct. 16 quake goes, Ebel suspects that homes near the epicenter may have had some dishes rattle and cracking in old plaster walls.
Here in Concord, police and fire officials said their departments received several inquiries around the earthquake, but had no responses related to the quake.
New England is no stranger to earthquake activity.
The last earthquake to reach the 4.0 threshold was in 2006, a 4.0 quake in Bar Harbor, Maine.
And the grand-daddy of New England quakes dates to 1755. That quake is estimated to have been a 6.25 shaker and was felt throughout New England.
In 1925, a 6.2 quake struck in Canada and was felt in New England, as well.
So, what is the potential for a big one, a California-esque quake in staid New England?
Dr. Ebel said such a quake could happen here.
Any place in the world that experiences regular earthquake activity is at risk for a major quake at some point.
When Ebel says "at some point," he is speaking geologically, which means it could hit tomorrow, a month from now, in 10 years or in a hundred or more years.
But the potential exists.
And as far as aftershocks from tonight’s quake, he said there is potential for aftershocks close to the center over the next day or two.
He does not expect that people in Massachusetts would feel the aftershocks.