'Really weird and bizarre.' Rare NYC quake startles residents, gives jolt to Roosevelt Island

According to reports from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the seismic activity, centered in Astoria, Queens, struck at approximately 5:45 a.m.

Edric Robinson

Jan 2, 2024, 11:50 PM

Updated 201 days ago

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Residents in parts of New York City, including Roosevelt Island, felt rumblings this morning from a 1.7 magnitude earthquake. According to reports from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the seismic activity, centered in Astoria, Queens, struck at approximately 5:45 a.m. Those who felt its impact say they were startled and some even unsure if they had experienced a quake. 
“Woke up because of what sounded like a dull thud,” said Don Chesley, who has lived on Roosevelt Island with his wife since 2004. 
“All of a sudden something shook, I wasn’t sure if I dreamt it or it was for real,” said Andriy Fazan, another Roosevelt Island resident. 
Matthew Lugo says he was surprised by the rare occurrence. 
“Texted my parents and some of my friends and they were shocked to hear that a place like NYC that never has earthquakes especially in my neighborhood was really weird and bizarre so now just trying to understand what happened,” said Lugo who lives in Astoria,Queens. 
Other residents like Anthony Longo say although they did not feel the quake they would like officials to say what exactly happened.  “Word gets around fast. There are a lot of concerns some people say they felt explosions,” said Longo 
Con Edison confirmed the earthquake caused no outages to its customers. 
The USGS confirmed the earthquake's magnitude, attributing the early morning jolt to a 1.7 magnitude quake on the Richter scale. Dr. Stephen Holler, an Associate Professor of Physics at Fordham University, explained that the quake's epicenter was in Astoria, Queens despite its impacts felt elsewhere. 
“Three miles underground in Astoria, Queens, though most of the reports I’ve seen said it was felt most in Roosevelt Island,” said Holler.
The university's seismic center, which monitors earthquakes globally, collected data showing its movement in different directions during the event.
Holler reassures the public there’s no need to panic, especially in comparison to more significant quakes like the 7.5 magnitude that happened in Japan. 
 “This is a natural thing that happens. We don’t experience very large earthquakes or we haven’t experienced on the East Coast in a long time. That this is the Earth releasing a little bit of pressure,” said Holler. 


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