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Earthquakes In New Jersey: A Shake Up Call For The Garden State

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"A Shake Up Call For The Garden State"

 

Wednesday March 3, 2010

The Record

 

"The horrific earthquakes in Haiti and Chilie may leave some New Jerseyans to wonder: Can earthquakes happen here?

 

Actually, they (earthquakes) do, most recently on February 21st. Residents of Bernardsville and other Somerset County towns felt a gentle rumbling that morning from a magnitude 2.6 earthquake and, 3-1/2 hours later a magnitude 2.3 earthquake. No damage was reported. Two weeks earlier, the same area had two smaller earthquakes, measuring magnitude 1.5 and magntitude 1.2, but no one noticed. The earthquakes occurred in the area of the Ramapo Fault, which runs diagonally through northwestern New Jersey.

 

That's about as bad as Garden State earthquakes get, said Mr. Karl Muessig, the state geologist.

 

There's never been an earthquake-related death in New Jersey, and the strongest earthquake felt here occurred in 1884. That magnitude 5.5 tremblor, centered in Jamaica Bay, shook (the City Of) Brooklyn silly and toppled chimneys in Jersey City, Mr. Muessig said.

 

New Jersey had about 160 measureable earthquakes in the 20th Century. The strongest was a magnitude 4.0 in 1938 centered in Lakehurst and a magnitude 3.5 in 1979 centered in Cheesequake - yes, Cheesequake! - State Park in Matawan.

 

Should we be lulled into thinking that New Jersey will never suffer earthquake destruction?

 

'The New Jersey Geological Survey is involved with FEMA and the state police in looking at the state's building stock and running calculations of potential earthquake damage', Mr. Muessig said. 'We don't think we'd ever get anything greater than a magnitude 5.5, but we have enough old building stock that there could be a building collapse, or even a death. It's possible'.

 

Interestingly, the state geologist admits that he has never felt an earthquake - in New Jersey or anywhere in the world."

 

- Jay Levin

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Earthquakes can happen all most anywhere from coast to coast. The north american plate is smushed between a rift zone (expanding) in the atlantic ocean, and the pacific plate which is also expanding from a rift zone a similar distance away. There are also several hot spots, one under idaho, one under arizona, and one under wyoming, and of course you have the hawaii hot spot, so even those folks are not immune to quakes. Then you got the cascade range, caused by uplift when the nearly gone Juan de Fuca plate, which is wedged between the pacific and north american plates, and the subduction zone up in alaska, which can produce horrific ground deformation and massive damage. All we can do is build strong, for storm resistance, and earth movement resistance.

 

Check out a fault map some time, might change your perspective. We are not disconnected from these events, we simply have not had one happen recent enough for it to be on people's minds.

 

- A

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LOL i guess we could always look into having our cities float in the sky.

 

Then we would have turbulence to deal with.........

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