New Jersey, New York City rocked by 4.8 magnitude earthquake: Live updates

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(NEW YORK) -- A 4.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the Northeast Friday morning, in what New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called "one of the largest earthquakes on the East Coast in the last century."

The earthquake was centered near Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, and shook buildings from Philadelphia to New Jersey and New York City to Connecticut and Westchester, New York. It could be felt as far south as Washington, D.C., and as far north as Maine, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

There were no reports of injuries or major damage.

"There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage," according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

"I felt like there was a roller coaster under my house going 1,000 miles an hour," Carol Nicolaidis of Brooklyn, New York, told ABC News. "I first thought pipes were exploding under my house."

"I was sitting in my living room and I saw the walls shaking; it felt like a wave," she said.

"It felt like a subway train running under the couch," said Rocco Pietropola, who was in an eighth-floor Manhattan apartment.

Con Edison said there are no reports of outages, and the MTA said there was no service disruption to New York City's subway system.

In New Jersey, only "limited damage" has been reported, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.

President Joe Biden was briefed on the earthquake and spoke with Murphy, and Biden's team is monitoring potential impacts, according to White House officials.

New York City schools are staying open as normal, according to the city's Department of Education press secretary, Nathaniel Styer.

"At this time, there is no indication that our buildings were compromised, and our facilities staff are quickly and thoroughly inspecting buildings to ensure safety. The safest place for our kids right now is in our schools," Styer said.

At Rye Country Day School in Rye, New York, "The students thought it was the coolest thing ever," said Gail Sestito, dean of Grades 7 and 8 and a middle school science instructor.

"Many said they saw the lights shaking a little and the smart board vibrate. But mostly we heard it -- sounded like students running down the hall," she said.

"As science teachers, we were excited to dive into the details we could find," she said. "Our seventh grade is currently teaching geology, so it’s a perfect real-life connection."

"Obviously safety of the students was most important, so we evacuated using our fire drill procedures to account for all students," Sestito said. "While we waited for clearance to return to class, we talked to them -- casually -- about the rarity of this, and the upcoming eclipse, too."

"Earthquakes along the Atlantic Seaboard are uncommon but not unheard of," according to the U.S. Geological Survey. "M4.8 is not large enough to cause damage, apart from light effects in the immediate epicentral region. It is large enough to be strongly felt, especially in the east, where earthquake shaking travels through the crust more efficiently than it does out west."

This was the strongest quake with an epicenter in New Jersey since at least the year 1900, according to preliminary analysis from the U.S. Geological Survey.

John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport were all placed on ground stops so runways could be inspected for damage. The airports have since resumed operations.

Cars at the Holland Tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan were temporarily held so the tunnel could be inspected, according to the Port Authority.

Baltimore and Washington, D.C., officials said the earthquake has had no impact to the D.C. region.

What are aftershocks?
Hochul said she and her administration are taking the earthquake extremely seriously, noting there is always the possibility of aftershocks.

Aftershocks are smaller earthquakes that strike the same overall area in the days, weeks, months or years after the larger "mainshock" earthquake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In the wake of Friday morning's quake, there's a 46% chance of an aftershock over a 3.0 magnitude within the next week, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

"If you feel an aftershock, drop to the floor, cover your head and neck, and take cover under a solid piece of furniture, next to an interior wall, or in a doorway," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Friday, April 5, 2024 at 1:48PM by Emily Shapiro, ABC News Permalink