Are earthquakes common in Massachusetts?


BLISS CORNER, Mass. (WWLP) – At 9:10 Sunday morning, an earthquake struck Massachusetts. Rumbles and shakes were felt as far as western Massachusetts. We had many 22News viewer reports of rumbles and shaking. This was a magnitude 3.6 earthquake that happened right on the state line between Massachusetts and Rhode Island centered near Bliss Corner, Massachusetts. 

Smaller earthquakes are not entirely rare here in New England. However, earthquakes of this magnitude are not extremely common. In modern history, the last 3.7 magnitude earthquake happened 26 years ago. The last 3.6 magnitude before Sunday’s was 17 years ago. We had some 3.5 magnitude earthquakes 45 and 41 years ago. We had 3.3 magnitude earthquakes 6, 20 and 26 years ago. And 3.1 magnitude earthquakes 11 and 13 years ago. 

An earthquake usually has to be at least a magnitude 5.0 to cause widespread, significant damage. In modern history, we have not had any New England earthquakes that caused widespread significant damage. However, in 1755 an earthquake off the coast of Massachusetts caused damage to hundreds of buildings in Boston. That was estimated around a magnitude 6.0 to 6.3.

MAP: Bliss Corner, Mass.

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