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The Quebec quake, as seen at Canisius College's Braun-Ruddick Seismic Station

US Geologic Survey: Quake In Canada, Felt & Heard Here

(WBEN/AP)  The US Geologic Survey reports an earthquake in Quebec, that several listeners and callers to WBEN have said was felt around Western New York.

The quake was a 4.4-magnitude earthquake just west of Ottawa that was felt as far away as Toronto, according to Earthquakes Canada

It occurred near 9:43  Friday morning with a 3.6 Richter scale after shock approximately 10 minutes later.

The federal agency that monitors earthquakes revised its original report, saying it registered a 5.1-magnitude temblor with an epicenter located about 13 miles northeast of Shawville, Quebec, about an hour's drive outside Ottawa.

It was felt as far west as Toronto, Canada's largest city, but no damage was immediately reported.

Did You Hear or Feel It?
Exclusive WBEN Audio

Across the WBEN listening audience, it ranged from a small shake that listeners say felt like wind, or worse. One person described it as if they were driving over a rough road, another said it was strong enough to shake the dryer in her laundry room.  Hear a sampling of those comments at left.

Gary Solar, a Buffalo State College geography professor tells WBEN that often times shallow quakes like this are felt far beyond their epicenter.

"Even though it wasnt very large, because it was very shallow.. around three miles (elow the surface) those tend to travel further," Solar says

Twitter erupted with reports of buildings shaking in Ottawa for several seconds. Ontario's premier, who lives in Toronto, tweeted that her house was shaking.

Ontario Provincial Police in Arnprior, Ontario, not far from the epicenter, say they have received no reports of damage.

The original report said a 4.8-magnitude quake was centered near the town of Braeside, Ontario.

Here's The latest from the US Geologic Survey

M5.0 - 25km NNE of Shawville, Canada 2013-05-17 13:43:22 UTCEvent Time


Tectonic Summary

Earthquakes in the Western Quebec Seismic Zone

People in the large Western Quebec seismic zone have felt small earthquakes and suffered damage from larger ones for three centuries. The two largest damaging earthquakes occurred in 1935 (magnitude 6.1) at the northwestern end of the seismic zone, and in 1732 (magnitude 6.2) 450 km (280 mi) away at the southeastern end of the zone where it caused significant damage in Montreal. Earthquakes cause damage in the zone about once a decade. Smaller earthquakes are felt three or four times a year.

Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the west, are typically felt over a much broader region. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. A magnitude 4.0 eastern earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 100 km (60 mi) from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern earthquake usually can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi).


Earthquakes everywhere occur on faults within bedrock, usually miles deep. Most of the bedrock in the Western Quebec seismic zone was formed as several generations of mountains rose and were eroded down again over the last billion or so years.

At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, often scientists can determine the name of the specific fault that is responsible for an earthquake. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case. The Western Quebec seismic zone is far from the nearest plate boundaries, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea. The seismic zone is laced with known faults but numerous smaller or deeply buried faults remain undetected. Even the known faults are poorly located at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few, if any, earthquakes in the seismic zone can be linked to named faults. It is difficult to determine if a known fault is still active and could slip and cause an earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rockies, the best guide to earthquake hazards in the Western Quebec seismic zone is the earthquakes themselves.

USGS National Earthquake Information Center