Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research logo google logo
navigation bar

Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake Strikes Near Plattsburgh, New York

Shaking Felt Throughout New York State and Northeast

 BUFFALO, NY Many residents of New York State and the northeast United States awoke the morning of April 20, 2002 to the rumbling of an earthquake. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake struck at 6:50 a.m. (EDT), approximately 15 miles southwest of Plattsburgh, New York. The USGS reported a preliminary magnitude of 5.1. Plattsburgh is located in New York State's Adirondack Mountain region, an area of relatively frequent seismic activity.

Shaking was felt throughout New England, and as far west as Cleveland, Ohio; as far south as Baltimore, Maryland; and as far north as Quebec, Canada. The earthquake was epicentered at 44 degrees 5 minutes north latitude and 73 degrees 7 minutes west longitude. It was measured at a shallow depth of five kilometers. There were reports of minor damage in the epicentral area. A bridge was damaged in Jay, New York, and road damage was reported in Keeseville, New York. A chimney was reported damaged in Lake Placid, and a window and foundation were cracked in Au Sable Forks, New York. The earthquake was similar in size to one which occurred approximately 80 miles to the southwest, near Blue Mountain Lake, New York, in October of 1983. Scientists are interested in learning what people may have experienced or observed during the earthquake, so that they can gain a more complete understanding of the event. Those who felt the earthquake can report what they experienced, by visiting the USGS online at

Additional information is available online at


Additional Links:

MCEER Follow-up with Plattsburgh and NYS Officials

MCEER Frequently Asked Questions About Earthquakes

Earthquakes in New York State

Seismic Zoning vs. Probabilistic Ground Motion Map of New York State

  Contact Us  |  Acknowledgements   |  Disclaimer  |  Copyright© 2007 by the Research Foundation of the State of New York. All rights reserved.