BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The strongest earthquake to hit southern New England in decades rattled homes and nerves Sunday morning, but didn’t cause any significant damage, authorities said.

The 3.6 magnitude earthquake centered off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts, in Buzzards Bay struck just after 9 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center.

The earthquake hit at a depth of a little more than 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) and was felt across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and into Connecticut and Long Island, New York.

It was the strongest earthquake in the area since a magnitude 3.5 temblor hit in March 1976, said Paul Caruso, a USGS geophysicist.

About 14,000 people went to the agency’s website to report the earthquake, including people from Easthampton, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut, both about 100 miles (160 kilometers) away, and several from more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) away in Boston, he said.

That’s not unusual in New England.

“It’s common for them to be felt very far away because the rock here is old and continuous and transmits the energy a long way,” Caruso said.

Ali Kenner Brodsky, who lives in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, not far from the epicenter, was sitting in her kitchen talking with her son, when it hit.

“It was a rumbling. It sounded like something exploded. It rumbled. The whole house shook,” she said.

She said it lasted around 10 to 15 seconds. “In that moment, it feels like it’s going on forever.”

Her husband, Sam, ran to the basement because he thought the boiler blew up.

Sarah Trainor was lying in bed in Plymouth at the time. She was immediately concerned about her furnace.

“It was probably about less than 10 seconds, pretty short,” she said. “I think it felt longer because mentally you’re like ‘what is happening right now.”


Magnitude 3.6 earthquakes rarely cause major damage, Caruso said.

Chris Besse, a spokesman for the oMassachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said it had not received any reports of significant damage.

There were some reports of minor damage.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell reported that the earthquake caused damage to at least two homes in the city’s South End. The fire department is inspecting basements and the Red Cross is helping impacted residents.

“I encourage everyone to check their chimneys for damage, especially in the basement. If you find damage, please call the fire department. You should also make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working,” Mitchell tweeted.

Police in Fall River tweeted that they received numerous phone calls about the quake, including reports of items falling off of shelves, and street signs getting uprooted.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (20)
  1. Preston N Alexander says:

    Felt it very strongly here in downtown Fall River – neighbors ran out of their houses wondering what had just exploded. The “explosion” lasted for about 15 seconds…very scary. No damage noted yet…

  2. susan says:

    The most amazing thing about the earthquake was the sound. You could actually hear it. To us it sounded like the biggest truck in the world rumbling down our small country road. The whole house shook for about 3 seconds.

  3. burtonwood86 says:

    Felt it in Monument Beach (Bourne), a strong rumbling that shook the house.

  4. M. P. R. Howard says:

    4.0, HELL, that would barely acknowledge a one line mention hare. Ha Ha!!!

    1. MsMysstiGirl says:

      What an uncaring comment to make!!! If you’ve NEVER experienced a quake, especially one that causes your home to shake as mine did…it’s scary and discomforting! So sad that you apparently have no compassion!!!!

  5. MsMysstiGirl says:

    From Cotuit…..heard the “warning sounds” similar to construction noises for a[[ro 2-3 mins then within 2 minutes my house shook several times! My daughter in Worcester also heard the rumblings prior to her house shaking!

  6. framingham 1450 worcester road top floor bed moved for 10 seconds real motion felt

  7. I felt it the furniture vibrated for several seconds and there was sound to go with it, at first I thought the new Gas Compression Station on the Fore River in Quincy was blowing again, a time bomb waiting for opportunity.

  8. sporadicZ says:

    interesting comments, thanks.
    some stress has been relieved somewhere.

  9. richard martin watne says:

    just hear about have grand child in area

  10. Susan Hamel says:

    We felt the quake in Chicopee, MA at 9:10am. It lasted a second or two….

  11. Taylor Davidson says:

    I lived out West and experienced several earthquakes in Seattle, including being near the epicenter of the 2001 Nisqually Quake which was a 6.8 and shook for 45 seconds. What was notable here in Smithfield RI was the sound. I was sitting at my computer next to an open window and I hear it rolling in before the shaking. It took me a minute to believe it because I thought “Earthquakes don’t happen in Rhode Island.” Well, guess what? …

    1. MsMysstiGirl says:

      I am soooo happy to read your comment because the rumbling noises I heard prior to the actual shaking sounded like someone was doing construction in my immediate area and I got out of bed to see what it was!! A few seconds later I felt my house shake!!! Until I was told that indeed there is often a rumbling noise prior to the quake I honestly didn’t know!!! TY for your post!!!

  12. Tom D says:

    too bad the earthquake didn’t dump Communistchusetts into the sea

    1. Уильям says:

      никогда не говори этого, мы найдем тебя

    2. MsMysstiGirl says:

      Where ever does this comment come from??? WHY are YOU so angry as to even say this? WHERE is your compassion and understanding??? What a sad and sorry person you sound like!!

  13. JOHN J DUMAS says:

    I reported feeling a 2.5? a few years ago. I was in the Beverly ma library when I heard and felt a “train” go by. Then I realized the train tracks are a mile away.

  14. Larry Horton says:

    i remember feeling an earthquake in middleboro early 80s..1981 or 1982

  15. yolanda sophias says:

    Too bad it wasn’t worse You people deserve God’s wrath for what you did to this country

Leave a Reply