Tag Archive | "earthquake"

Quake Rattles Sag Harbor

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quake epicenter

Blue square indicates epicenter of quake near Richmond, Virginia


by Courtney M. Holbrook

An earthquake hit Sag Harbor at about 2 p.m. today. The 5.9 magnitude earthquake reportedly originated in Virginia, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Shocks were transmitted up to Sag Harbor, and as far north as Rhode Island.

“It’s happened so recently that we’re still collecting seismic graphs and examining the facts,” said Prof. Daniel M. Davis, a professor in the geosciences department at Stony Brook University. “Right now, it’s so recent, all of our information is extremely preliminary.”

Davis noted there was reason to believe the quake felt in Sag Harbor was consistent with the recent information from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The U.S.G.S. placed the earthquake as a 5.9 on the Richter Scale. The Richter Scale analyzes earthquakes for the amount of energy they release. A 5.9 is usually considered a mid to higher rating, according to Davis.

“Given that it probably originated from Virginia, we’re far away from the major activity,” Davis said. “But it’s not too surprising we felt the results. It probably started with fault line activity at the foothills of the Appalachian mountains.”

For many Sag Harbor citizens, the earthquake was a moment of excitement in an otherwise sunny, peaceful day.

“I was standing at work, and all of a sudden, the chandelier and mirror began to shake,” said Laura Gevanter, who works at Bond No. 9. “I felt like my body had gone off its equilibrium.”

Gevanter has lived in Southern California, and so immediately knew “exactly what was going on. We were having an earthquake in Sag Harbor.”

That sense of shock also affected Adin Doyle, who works at the Romany Kramoris Gallery. Staring into space at the Gallery, Doyle noticed the artwork “that was hanging down started wobbling. I didn’t see the building falling down or anything, so I figured it must be an earthquake.”

Doyle has only experienced earthquakes when he spent time in Utah. He noted that many people in Sag Harbor might not have experienced an earthquake before.

“It’s not something you usually see out here,” Doyle said. “At least I wasn’t imagining it.”

Earthquakes are not commonplace on the East End, unlike their high frequency on the West Coast. Davis noted earthquakes on the East Coast stem from moving tectonic places in the Appalachian Mountains, an older landform. The older age makes tectonic movements less common than those on the West Coast. However, Davis said it was not unusual for Sag Harbor to feel an earthquake originating in Virginia.

“The crust on the East Coast is good at transmitting seismic movements across a great distance,” Davis said. “It’s really old. When rocks rub against each other on a daily basis, they warm up the same way as when you rub your hands … this makes them efficient, because they’ve been rubbing for so long.”

As Sag Harbor citizens return to their daily activities, many are returning to their normal activities.

“It was crazy how people were freaking out online,” Gevanter said. “But I think it’s freaky because we don’t expect it in [Sag Harbor] … it was definitely a new experience for many.”


Locals Feel the Earth Move During 3.9 Quake

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Image credited to the U.S. Geological Survey.

By Kathryn G. Menu


Around 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning, public relations consultant Robbie Vorhaus was sitting in his office at his North Haven home when his house began to shake.

His wife, Candace, didn’t feel the rumbling from beneath and passed it off as “just a truck on Ferry Road.”

In fact, Vorhaus was correct in his initial feeling that the ruckus “came from inside the earth,” as many residents on the East End reported what the United States Geological Survey confirmed: that a 3.9 magnitude earthquake occurred 135-miles south southeast from Southampton in the Atlantic Ocean.

Vorhaus, who responded to the United States Geological Survey’s request for information from those who felt the quake, said he was queried to whether he was scared or excited about the experience.

“I was definitely excited,” he said. “It was a wonderful experience.”

Over 1,000 people across Long Island and into New Jersey and Connecticut reported feeling the tremors to the United States Geological Survey as of Tuesday afternoon.

Five people responded from Montauk, 14 from East Hampton, six from Sag Harbor, and 18 from Southampton. According to a dispatcher with the East Hampton Town Police, that agency received just one call about the quake, which they forwarded to Southampton Town Police believing that agency was handling the breadth of calls revolving around the incident as that township was expected to feel the quake more than residents in East Hampton.

Kathleen Vonatzski, a dispatcher with Southampton Town Police, said that as of Tuesday afternoon she had received just two calls, but that the Hampton Bays police station shook for seven solid seconds when the quake hit the area.

No injuries or damages have been reported as a result of the quake.

“Most people didn’t even feel it,” said Vonatzski.

Some did, however. Bonnie Hoye of Southampton reported feeling the tremor, as did East Hampton’s Jeanie Strong, who lives in Springs. Strong said there was no damage to her home, but that the residence shook, dishes rattled and her young son was scared by the incident.

Adam Flax, a resident of Northwest Woods in East Hampton said he was getting ready to leave his house between 10:30 and 11 a.m. when he decided to turn down his thermostat to save fuel.

“A second after I hit the button there was this rumble, which didn’t seem normal when you are shutting the heater down,” said Flax. “So I walked around kind of startled and thinking something must be wrong with the boiler, but it is a new boiler. I contemplated going downstairs, but nothing was amiss so I left.”

Later, Flax ran into a friend who asked him about the earthquake.

“Then I realized, that’s what it must have been,” he said.

According to the Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismographic Network of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, the quake occurred some five kilometers under the seabed, where an underwater canyon carved by the Hudson River drops off the continental slope and into deeper waters.

The United States Geological Survey reported that the earthquake was widely, but lightly felt, according to the network, and was felt at least from Toms River, New Jersey to outside of Boston, with many reports coming from Long Island.

According to Kevin Krajick, senior science writer for The Earth Institute at Columbia University, there was no indication a tsunami was generated as a result of the quake.

According to research compiled by the Earth Institute team, the area the quake originated from has produced at least five tremors in the last 20 years, including a magnitude 4.2 quake in 1992.