New Jersey Earthquake: 4.8 magnitude quake rattles from Philadelphia to NYC

An earthquake centered in Hunterdon County, New Jersey on Friday morning shook homes from New York City all the way to Philadelphia. 

The United States Geological Survey reported a quake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.8, centered near Whitehouse Station, New Jersey.

The epicenter is about 50 miles north of Philadelphia and the USGS indicated that the quake might have been felt by more than 42 million people.

People in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Connecticut and other areas of the Northeast reported shaking. Tremors lasting for several seconds were felt over 200 miles away near the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border.

Reports of shaking flooded the FOX 29 Newsroom around 10:25 a.m. and FOX 29 Staff could feel the shaking in our newsroom. Viewers have confirmed feeling shaking as far south as Delaware.

So far, no state or local agencies have reported damage as a result of the quake. 

The USGS also reported as many as four minor aftershocks of 2.2, 2.0, 2.0 and 1.8 in magnitude in the hours that followed the initial quake. An additional number of aftershocks took place throughout the day, including a 4.0 near Gladstone, New Jersey, about 6 p.m.

The earthquake slowed travel along the East Coast, with some flights diverted and traffic snarled on roads and rails for runway, bridge, and tunnel inspections. Flights to the Newark, New York and Baltimore airports were held at their origins for a time while officials inspected runways for cracks. At least five flights en route to Newark were diverted and landed at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pennsylvania, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy took to social media following the quake to share that the state's Emergency Operations Center has been activated.

Philadelphia police asked people not to call 911 about seismic activity unless they were reporting an emergency. Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said state officials were monitoring the situation.


Map of Epicenter via USGS

Earthquakes are less common on this side of the U.S. because the East Coast does not lie on a boundary of tectonic plates. But East Coast quakes can still pack a punch — its rocks are better at spreading earthquake energy across far distances.

"If we had the same magnitude quake in California, it probably wouldn’t be felt nearly as far away," said U.S.G.S. geophysicist Paul Caruso.

A 4.8-magnitude quake isn't large enough to cause damage, except for some minor effects near the epicenter, the agency posted on X.

Earthquakes with magnitudes near or above 5 struck near New York City in 1737, 1783 and 1884, the USGS said. And Friday's stirred memories of the Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake that jolted tens of millions of people from Georgia to Canada. With an epicenter in Virginia, it left cracks in the Washington Monument and rattled New Yorkers ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Registering magnitude 5.8, it was the strongest earthquake to hit the East Coast since World War II.

On Friday, President Joe Biden said he had had spoken to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy about the earthquake. The White House said the administration would provide help if needed to state and local officials.