Earthquake Rattles Eastern Connecticut for Third Day in a Row

Jan 14, 2015

Have you been feeling the earth move?

In what's becoming a daily event, a minor earthquake has shaken parts of eastern Connecticut.

The U.S. Geological Service confirmed a 2.0-magnitude earthquake at about 6:30 am Wednesday in Plainfield. It was the third consecutive day an earthquake was felt in the area, and was in the same location as five small earthquakes on Monday morning.

Judy Benson, health, science and environment reporter for The Day in New London, speaking on WNPR’s Where We Live, said earthquakes in Connecticut are "one of earth's mysteries that has not yet been solved." 

Benson said residents in Plainfield have not yet taken specific action to prepare for future earthquakes, but researchers from the Weston Observatory at Boston College installed seismograph equipment in the area Tuesday to accurately pinpoint future quake's epicenters. 

Connecticut is riddled with fault lines, but the state is located at the center of the North American plate, which extends from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to the West Coast, where earthquakes are much more frequent.

"What they record in one year of earthquake monitoring in California, we have to wait a hundred years to record the same number of earthquakes in New England," said John Ebel, a geophysicist with the Weston Observatory, which has monitored earthquakes in Connecticut since the mid-1970s.

"In that time, we've averaged about half a dozen felt earthquakes per year from somewhere in the New England region," Ebel said. "So, magnitude 3.1, 3.3, like we had earlier this week, is about a once a year earthquake somewhere in New England. It's not an everyday occurrence, but not an unusual occurrence."

Ebel said clusters of earthquakes like the recent spurt in Connecticut let seismologists get a lot of data. Information they can use to pinpoint which local geological features may be responsible for the quakes.

"One of the questions I get asked quite a bit is: How long is this going to last?" Ebel said. "We really can't say. The swarm could die down now over the next days. It could keep going for days, or weeks, or perhaps even months."

In 2006, Ebel said a "swarm" in Bar Harbor, Maine began in September and extended into the following year. 

Paul Yellen, Plainfield's emergency management director, told WFSB that no significant damage to utilities or roads has been reported.

Ryan King is an intern at WNPR. This report includes information from The Associated Press.