Earthquake Reported in Mass. Sunday Morning, Felt Across Region

Earthquake Reported in Mass. Sunday Morning, Felt Across Region

The strongest earthquake to hit southern New England in decades rattled homes and nerves Sunday morning, but didn’t cause any significant damage, authorities said.

The quake was first reported as magnitude 4.0, but later downgraded to 3.6. It centered in Bliss Corner, a section of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, struck just after 9 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The epicenter was near Buzzards Bay, off the coast of New Bedford. The quake hit at a depth of a little more than 9.3 miles and was felt across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and into Connecticut and Long Island, New York.

It was the strongest earthquake in the area since a magnitude 3.5 temblor hit in March 1976, said Paul Caruso, a USGS geophysicist.

About 14,000 people went to the agency’s website to report the earthquake, including people from Easthampton, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut, both about 100 miles away, and several from more than 50 miles, he said. That’s not unusual in New England.

“It’s common for them to be felt very far away because the rock here is old and continuous and transmits the energy a long way,” Caruso said.

The quake was a shallow one, which enhances the possibility of minor damage and is likely felt across a larger area.

On the earthquake magnitude scale, it’s considered a “light” earthquake, which is often felt but only causes minor damage.

Numerous NBC10 Boston viewers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island reported feeling the tremors.

“Around 9:10 a.m. Sunday morning we felt what was an earthquake,” viewer Greg Levanduski said. “It lasted about 20 seconds, started as a rumbling noise then the house started shaking.”

Viewer Dorrie Stapleton said she felt it as far north as Wakefield, Massachusetts.

“About 2 minutes ago I felt a heavy deep rumbling and my entire house in Hopkinton shook,” added Raymond Jerome.

“We just had an earth tremor,” said Victor Rebello of South Dartmouth. “The house shook and glass rattled. No apparent damage.”

Torry Gaucher of Cumberland, Rhode Island, said the quake caused a crack in his basement.

“I live in Douglas Ma and i don’t know about anyone else in the area but I do believe we had just experienced a small earthquake as our house slightly shook and we heard a faint rumbling,” said Amy Cundall. “Lasted for just a few seconds but was clearly felt.”

Liz Lahens lives in Webster, right on the Connecticut border, and said she felt the quake.

“It lasted several seconds and shook our bed at first then shook our whole house,” she said. “Everyone at home felt it and we all got up out of bed to find each other immediately.”

Dawn Shumbo lives in Connecticut and said she felt the quake there.

“Lasted about 8 seconds,” she said. “Loud rumbling and shook the furniture.”

Ali Kenner Brodsky, who lives in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, not far from the epicenter, was sitting in her kitchen talking with her son, when it hit.

“It was a rumbling. It sounded like something exploded. It rumbled. The whole house shook,” she said.

Brodsky said it lasted around 10 to 15 seconds.

“In that moment, it feels like it’s going on forever,’ she said.

Her husband, Sam, ran to the basement because he thought the boiler blew up.

Magnitude 3.6 earthquakes rarely cause major damage, Caruso said.

Chris Besse, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said it had not received any reports of injuries or significant damage.

Later Sunday, Besse in an email said there were reports of some structural damage to buildings in New Bedford, and urged anyone who felt the earthquake to check for such damage.

The Red Cross tweeted that it was helping 21 people, including children, who had been displaced from their New Bedford homes. There were other reports of minor damage.

Police in Fall River tweeted that they received numerous phone calls about the quake, including reports of items falling off of shelves, and street signs getting uprooted.

Police in Dartmouth and area towns including Falmouth, Rochester, and Westport also said they had received calls from residents but no one has reported any damage.

The most recent 4.0-plus magnitude earthquake in the northeast was in Ohio back in 2019. In New England, there was a 4.7 magnitude quake in Maine in 2012.


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