PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you were woken up in the middle of the night by the rocking of your bed, you are not alone. A magnitude 3.1 earthquake shook the northern half of New Jersey early Wednesday morning.
While no damage or injuries were reported, it was a wild experience for many across the Mid-Atlantic.
This morning’s earthquake was a magnitude 3.1 tremor at a depth of 5 kilometers, or about 3 miles below the earth’s surface.
The tremor occurred about 1-1.5 miles outside of the town of Freehold.
Did you feel it? 3.1M earthquake at Freehold, NJ overnight! Light shaking felt across NJ. Some weak shaking felt in Philly. Did you know, an East Coast earthquake can be felt over an area up to 10x larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the West Coast? @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/4eLGmv7xv2
— Lauren Casey (@LaurenCBS3) September 9, 2020
While the earthquake only lasted for about 13 seconds, it was enough time to scare folks across northern New Jersey and into parts of New York and Pennsylvania as well.
While the number is unofficial, the USGS reports that over 6,900 people felt this morning’s tremor.
There were reports from as far away as the Hudson Valley and Cape May that claimed to have felt the tremor.
The good news is that no damage or injuries were reported.
According to the USGS, earthquakes that rate this low on the Richter Scale, usually do not cause property damage and most of the time will not cause any injuries.
However, in these types of events, the injuries that do happen are usually caused by items falling off shelves and landing on people, rather than structural problems.
When quakes move into the 5.0 or higher magnitude range, that is when property and structural damage typically happens.
While the East Coast is definitely not known for its earthquakes, it does not mean that we do not feel them from time to time.
In fact, this is the third quake to have its epicenter near Freehold since the 1970s.
The most recent earthquake near Freehold was June of 1992, when a 3.1 magnitude quake hit.
Before that, a 3.5 magnitude tremor occurred in 1979.
On average, the urban corridor of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Northern Delaware sees a smaller earthquake, like the one this morning, every two to three years.
However, about one or two times a century a moderately strong earthquake will strike in the region.
The last earthquake that was felt in the region and considered moderately strong — 5.0-5.9 on the Richter Scale — occurred in August 2011.
Its epicenter was in Louisa, Virginia and rated as a 5.8 on the Richter Scale. That quake was felt as far north as Central Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley even though we are over 200 miles from the epicenter.
CBS3’s Matt Peterson and Lauren Casey contributed to this report.