Buffalo area records its strongest earthquake in 40 years, no damage reported
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A minor earthquake was detected in the Buffalo area on Monday around 6:15 a.m. It’s the strongest earthquake in the region in at least 40 years, the Associated Press reported.
Erie County’s emergency crews haven’t gotten any reports of damage and the shaking only lasted for a few seconds.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the earthquake was magnitude 3.8, which is powerful enough to be felt but is unlikely to cause damage. The organization Earthquakes Canada reported a higher magnitude, at 4.2, which could cause objects to shake and minimal damage to buildings.
The earthquake was centered near West Seneca, a suburb to the southeast of Buffalo, and extended to a 30-mile radius. The USGS map shows that the earthquake weakened significantly in the city of Buffalo. The earthquake was also felt slightly around Niagra Falls and in Ontario, Canada.
You can see footage of the earthquake from social media, courtesy of our Buffalo affiliate WGRZ, here:
In a Tweet, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the earthquake felt “like a car hit my house in Buffalo” and “I jumped out of bed.”
Western New York occasionally gets minor earthquakes from seismic activity, especially near the Clarendon-Linden fault system, which runs through Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, and Allegany counties. However, earthquakes in Western New York are not as well understood as those along tectonic plate boundaries, such as those in California, said Michel Bruneau, the director of Multi-Disciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research.
“A bang at the beginning it sort of swayed a little bit. I counted about 4 cycles myself on the second floor of the building,” he said.
The Buffalo earthquake was the only one detected in the northeast on Monday morning. First Alert Meteorologist Rich Caniglia said the earthquake in Buffalo had nothing to do with the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria that left at least 2,300 people dead, which also struck on Monday morning.
He said the earthquake is the fourth strongest recorded in Western New York. The strongest ever recorded in the region was in Corfu, Genesee County at magnitude 4.8 in 1929. The next strongest was in Attica, Wyoming County in 1966.
The Northeast States Emergency Consortium says more than 550 earthquakes across the state were detected between the years 1737 and 2016. The strongest earthquake ever detected in the state was in September 1944 in Massena, NY along the St. Lawrence River. The 5.9 magnitude earthquake damaged homes and the local school and extended into Cornwall, Canada.