1.7 magnitude earthquake jolts residents awake in Roosevelt Island, Queens

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, January 2, 2024
New Yorkers react to 1.7 magnitude earthquake jolting Roosevelt Island, Queens
Kemberly Richardson is live in Astoria with the latest details.

ROOSEVELT ISLAND (WABC) -- Officials say a 1.7 magnitude earthquake is believed to have jolted residents awake in Roosevelt Island and Queens and caused a series of small explosions that knocked out power on Tuesday morning.

The United States Geological Survey reported the earthquake near Astoria, Queens. There were no reports of damage or injuries in New York City.

The earthquake was reported at 5:45 a.m., the same time as the calls began on Roosevelt Island and the surrounding areas, including Astoria and the Upper East Side.

Residents say they were jolted awake by a loud noise and that they felt their buildings shaking.

"It was like an explosion, sounded like a bomb went off. The building shook, it woke us up. We called downstairs and they said it happened to all four buildings," a resident said.

Buildings at 2 and 4 River Road just south of the Roosevelt Island Bridge and Tram experienced power outages.

"There was an awful bang, like a vibration and you could tell it was coming from below the building," resident Maryellen Faherty said. "The elevators were out so we were up on the eighth floor, so we walked down and there was so much commotion at the time, no one knew what was going on."

No injuries have been reported. First responders were checking the structural integrity of buildings on the island, but none seemed to be affected.

Con Edison is continuing to investigate the incident.

While earthquakes are rare in this region, they do happen. One of the last to be reported was in May of 2023 when a 2.2 magnitude earthquake shook parts of Westchester County and New Jersey.

"Small earthquakes are a reminder that larger earthquakes are possible and eventually NYC will have a larger earthquake -- and we should have some preparation for that," said seismologist John Armbruster.

According to the USGS, the last seismic event in NYC was in June 2019. And before that, there were no reports of any earthquakes since a series of events in December of 2004.

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AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File


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