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State geologist discusses recent earthquakes felt locally | News

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SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts (WGGB / WSHM) – Early Sunday morning, shortly after midnight, a 2.0-magnitude earthquake struck Place Corner, Massachusetts not far from the 3.6-magnitude earthquake that occurred just a few weeks ago.

New England is in the middle of a tectonic plate that extends from California to the Mid-Atlantic mountain range. The North American Plate is moving and heading west at a very slow pace. This erosion causes internal stresses within the Earth’s crust, which must eventually be released.

And as a result of some small earthquakes that are sometimes felt in New England.

“It’s very common. I mean an average of two earthquakes, two or three small earthquakes every year in the New England area, and then every few decades or so we’ll have a much bigger earthquake, we’ll feel it,” said Steve Mabe, a commonwealth geologist Massachusetts.

Sometimes releasing this pressure can lead to nearby faults. Minor alterations occur days to weeks after the main event as the crust stabilizes. Today’s earthquake is thought to have been an aftershock possibly caused by the 3.6 that occurred several weeks earlier.

While earthquakes locally tend to be felt on a smaller scale due to our solid crystal crust, major events could have occurred in New England. In 2016, Bar Harbor, Maine had a 4.0. There was also 4.6 in Lake Arrowhead, Maine in 2012. In 1982, it hit 4.7 in Laconia, New Hampshire.

Damage usually occurs with 5.0 and above. Two of the largest known local events were over 6.0 on the Richter scale. In 1755, an estimated 6.0 occurred in Cape Ann, Massachusetts, and in 1638 in either Vermont or New Hampshire, there was an estimated 6.5 score.

On whether we should expect an increase in the frequency or intensity of these events going forward, Dr. Mabe said, “I don’t think so, that would be my guess. I mean, history definitely uh tells us that this is probably the case.”

Dr Mabe added that it was unlikely that these events were a precursor to any further events in the near future. Ingredients tested locally do not tend to be harmful in nature.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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