3.1 Magnitude Earthquake Hits New York, Felt Across Region

March 11, 2020 Updated: March 11, 2020

A 3.1 magnitude earthquake struck upstate New York near the Adirondack Mountains north of Saratoga Springs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The quake hit at around 6:45 a.m. Wednesday in the town of South Glen Falls. The quake had a depth of around 8 miles, according to the agency.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, although the quake was a surprise to many people in the area, as New York state doesn’t experience much seismic activity.

Mark Mulholland, of WNYT, wrote on Twitter: “Here’s how I’d describe it at my house in Wilton: A loud boom which sounded like a massive tree falling followed by about 5-7 seconds of shaking which rattled the handles on my dresser drawers.”

And Jaclyn Cangro, a reporter with at Spectrum News Albany, wrote: “Saratoga County Sheriff says he hasn’t heard of any reports of damages from this morning’s earthquake. A co-worker who lives in the South Glens Falls area says his family was woken up by the shaking.”

On the website Earthquake Report, numerous locals said they could feel or even hear the tremor.

“No property damage. 5 to 10 second consistent rumble, light shaking. I wish I were more awake when it happened,” one person wrote from Hudson Falls.

“I was already up, but it Was a loud rumble, and it shook my whole house. My windows rattled as well and it woke my husband up as it was happening. Doesn’t seem like any damage thankfully. But pretty scary,” said a local from Queensbury. “I thought a truck crashed outside my house. I was upstairs and building shook and windows rattled,” added a person from Saratoga Springs.

Meanwhile, research has found that New York City, which is about 200 miles south of the earthquake, might be at risk due to its population and other factors, although earthquakes rarely hit the East Coast.

Lynn R. Sykes, Higgins Professor Emeritus of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, told Newsweek: “New York is not as prone to earthquakes as California and Japan, but they do happen… To understand risk, you have to multiply hazard by assets, and vulnerability. When you factor that in, our risk is high.”

“Too much attention has been paid to the level of hazard, and not enough to the risk,” he added. “Earthquake hazard is about the same today as in 1609 when Henry Hudson sailed up the River. But earthquake risk is much, much higher today since the number of people, assets and their vulnerability are so much greater.”