Eastern quake leaves damage

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | April 20, 2002

A volunteer cuts up trees knocked down by flooding in eastern Pennsylvania. (DNN photo by Heather Moyer)
Credit: Disaster News Network

A 5.1-magnitude earthquake felt from Maine to Maryland early Saturday morning rattled more than just nerves. It has cracked foundations and chimneys, damaged roads, and could have caused structural strain on bridges and dams throughout the region.

The quake lasted about 30 seconds and was centered 15 miles southwest of Plattsburgh, NY in northern New York. It left cracks in chimneys and foundations throughout the region, said Ray Thatcher, director of emergency services in Essex County. At least two roads collapsed near the epicenter.

The temblor broke off a 100-foot section from a road in Ausable, according to Clinton County emergency management. Crews were filling the area in with limestone Saturday afternoon. Parts of two other roads collapsed, and there were several water main breaks in the area.

Both Essex and Clinton counties declared states of emergency Saturday. State inspectors were examining bridges and dams for structural damage. Police were urging drivers to use caution in case of undiscovered road damage.

At least two aftershocks were reported Saturday.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a 5.1 earthquake typically causes cracked plaster, broken windows, and minor structural damage near its epicenter.

Shaking was felt in Canada, as far east as Boston and Portland, ME, and as far south as Baltimore.

The area normally sees a quake this size about every 100 years.

On the same day exactly three years ago, a 3.5 quake occurred in the same area.

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