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Westchester's Earthquakes Often Go Unnoticed

Earthquakes in the Hudson Valley have registered from 1,0 to 4-0 over the last 30 years.
Earthquakes in the Hudson Valley have registered from 1,0 to 4-0 over the last 30 years. Photo Credit: Google Maps

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- There have been several minor earthquakes in the Hudson Valley over the last six months, each rumbling below ground and going virtually unnoticed by unsuspecting residents.

According to Earthquake Track, which publishes a daily record of natures underground shifts, an earthquake of magnitude 1.7 hit Mount Kisco on May 11, 2014 and another of 2.5 on the Richter Scale was recorded in Peekskill and southern Putnam County on July 5, a day after more obvious Fourth of July fireworks rocked the area.

The most recent earthquake in the area was the event on the Westchester-Putnam County border, which was felt by some residents. Earthquakes in the area happen anywhere in depth from 3 to 5 kilometers, according to Earthquake Track.

Most associate earthquakes with the West Coast -- one with a 6.0 magnitude hit as recently as last week in the San Francisco area -- the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. But 39 of the 50 states -- including New York and Tennessee -- have moderate to high seismic hazard risk, according to a 2011 report by World News Report.

Is there a possibility of a larger earthquake hitting the Hudson Valley? Or will the tiny shivers continue to go unnoticed?

The nearest fault line -- "125th Street Fault Line" below Manhattan -- does not compare to those on the California coast.

But a recent study released in 2013 by a group of scientists and engineers who formed the "New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation" concluded that a "catastrophic" earthquake with a magnitude of 6 or larger is possible in this region.

The group estimated that a magnitude 6 earthquake striking the region at 2 p.m. would cause up to 1,170 deaths and up to $40 billion in damages.

The following are some of the most notable earthquakes recorded in Westchester over the last 30 years:

October 1985 — A magnitude 4.0 earthquake was centered in an unincorporated part of Greenburgh between Ardsley and Yonkers. Tremors shook the metropolitan area and were felt in Philadelphia, southern Canada and Long Island.

April 1991 — A quake registering between magnitude 2.0 and 2.6 struck Westchester and Fairfield, Conn. It lasted just five seconds and caused no damage.

January 2003 — Two small earthquakes struck the area surrounding Hastings-on-Hudson. One was a magnitude of 1.2, the other 1.4.



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