Rare magnitude 3.1 earthquake strikes New Jersey; shaking reported across state

A magnitude 3.1 earthquake struck East Freehold, N.J., early Wednesday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Residents took to social media to express their shock at the rare occurrence as numerous reports of shaking were reported across the state. Hundreds of people as far away as Philadelphia and Long Island, N.Y., contributed to the USGS’ “Did You Feel It?” map, reporting only weak or light shaking and no damage.

“It would be very surprising for us to see anything more than you know, damaged shelves or picture frames falling off of windows,” said Robert Sanders, a geophysicist with the survey.

The USGS said the earthquake happened about 2 a.m. Wednesday and was centered 1.25 miles south-southeast of the center of East Freehold, about three miles deep.

“That’s a fairly uncommon event magnitude for quakes in this area,” Sanders said.


Since 1970, there have been two other quakes within 10 miles of this location, a magnitude 3.5 temblor in 1979 and a magnitude 3.1 quake in 1992, he said.

On Aug. 23, 2011, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake in central Virginia shook buildings in New Jersey. It was one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in the eastern U.S.