Residents near Whitehouse Station, New Jersey react to the earthquake

A 4.8-magnitude earthquake rattled New Jersey, New York City, and much of the Northeast on Friday

Saturday, April 6, 2024
4.0 magnitute aftershock felt across New Jersey, Tri-State
Crystal Cranmore reports on the aftershock with an epicenter in Gladstone, New Jersey.

LEBANON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Surveillance video in Lebanon, New Jersey captured the frightening moments on the ground as anything on top started to tremble.

"I thought the train derailed," Matt Milacki said. "It was intense.... Quite an experience."

The U.S. Geological Survey said over 42 million people might have felt the midmorning quake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.8, centered near Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, or about 45 miles west of New York City.

Pictures and decorative plates tumbled off the wall in Christiann Thompson's house in Whitehouse Station, she said, relaying what her husband had told her by phone as she volunteered at a library.

"The dogs lost their minds and got very terrified and ran around," she said.

Adam Mueller, the mayor of Readingtown, says the only major structural damage in the township was Taylors Mill, an historic site that played an important role in the American revolution.

"A portion of the top collapsed," he said.

Col. John Taylor's Grist Mill, which was built in 1760 and supplied grain to George Washington's troops during the American Revolution.

Cones cordon off fallen debris from the historic Taylor's Mill in Lebanon, N.J., Friday, April 5, 2024.
Matt Rourke

Efforts are underway to restore the site. The project is now expected to be delayed due to the damage.

Across Hunterdon County, fire and rescue have been inundated with calls for reported gas leaks officials say they are also now starting to receive reports of damage to homes.

"We activated our emergency support agencies to coordinate information and resource needs at the local level," Brayden Fahey, director of OEM Hunterdon County, said.

So far no concerns with major infrastructure or utilities. As emergency officials continue to respond to calls related to the earthquake and assess damage, a message from leaders:

"Our resources are tied up. Please don't call 911 unless it's a true emergency," Mueller said.

Earthquakes are less common on the eastern than western edges of the U.S. because the East Coast does not lie on a boundary of tectonic plates. The biggest Eastern quakes usually occur along the mid-Atlantic Ridge, which extends through Iceland and the Atlantic Ocean.

Quakes on the East Coast can still pack a punch, as its rocks are better than their western counterparts at spreading earthquake energy across long distances.

Earthquakes with magnitudes near or above 5 struck near New York City in 1737, 1783 and 1884, the USGS said. And Friday's stirred memories of the Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake that jolted tens of millions of people from Georgia to Canada. Centered in Virginia, the 5.8-magnitude quake was the strongest earthquake to hit the East Coast since World War II.

Some information from The Associated Press

Chief Meteorologist Lee Goldberg will cover the eclipse from Syracuse, New York, while meteorologist Brittany Bell will be reporting from Niagara Falls.

Plus we invite you to watch ABC News and National Geographic's "Eclipse Across America" live on April 8 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT on ABC, ABC News Live, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Disney+ and Hulu.


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