PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A local expert says we shouldn’t be surprised, because earthquakes do happen here in the Philadelphia area occasionally.

The earth does rumble occasionally in this area, according to Jonathan Nyquist, chairman of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Temple University.

“Little quakes occur on the East Coast all the time,” he says, “but mostly they’re ones that you’re not going to feel unless you’re extremely close to the epicenter — and even then it’s probably just a little shake.  Big ones like this occur probably every 40-50 years.”

He says it’s unlikely that today’s quake (see related story) will lead to a stronger event — this was probably the main event, he says, although there may be smaller aftershocks.

Meawnwhile, Dr. Ralph Dusseau, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rowan University, says today’s earthquake was too far away and too shallow to endanger bridges and roadways in our area, but suggested that railroad tracks should be checked, especially for passenger lines.

“I guess that the only trouble that you would have might be with the alignment of railroad tracks,” he explained.  “Roads are solid; you might get a crack in the road, but the magnitude wasn’t large enough to get any shifting in the road.”

Indeed, SEPTA, Patco, and other rail services in our region put temporary restrictions in place following the earthquake until they could determine that their tracks were safe for operation.

Reported by Lynne Adkins, KYW Newsradio 1060

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