M 5.0 Earthquake Jolts Quebec / Felt in Western New York

5.5 Earthquake Jolts Quebec

A USGS intensity map depicts a portion of the area over which the June 23, 2010, M=5.0 Ontario-Quebec Border Region earthquake was felt. View the full USGS map.


A magnitude 5.0 earthquake shook the Ontario-Quebec Border Region of Ontario, Canada this afternoon, June 23, 2010, at 1:41:42 PM (EDT). The earthquake was felt in Western New York, and reportedly in at least 21 states from Maine to Wisconsin, and as far south as Alabama. In Canada, it was reportedly felt in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick.

The earthquake was estimated to have occurred at a depth of 18 km (11.2 miles) and was located roughly 53 km (33 miles) NNE from OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada, however these estimates may change as more data becomes available. This earthquake occurred near the southern edge of the Western Quebec Seismic Zone. Earthquakes in this region have caused damage roughly every ten years coupled with three or four smaller events producing relatively little to no damage.1 The Toronto Star reported that several buildings in Ottawa were evacuated with tremors lasting around 30 seconds. Windows at Ottawa's City Hall were shattered and a brick chimney came apart at a nearby masonry building. CBC News has reported significant damage occurred to several buildings in Gravefield, Quebec which lies close to the quake's epicenter.

Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains are typically felt over a much broader region. A magnitude 5.5 earthquake can usually be felt as far as 300 miles from where it occurred.1 The Buffalo News reported numerous accounts of area residents who physically experienced the shaking here in Western New York. Residents spoke of office furniture trembling and houseplants shaking, none of which resulted in damage. A spokesman for the Peace Bridge Authority confirmed that they had engineers performing structural safety evaluations.

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