Earthquake Shakes Ontario, Quebec
Map of earthquake location today (May 17, 2013) near Quebec, Ontario.
Credit: USGS.

An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 4.4 struck today outside of Ottawa, rattling southern Ontario and Quebec, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The temblor's epicenter was 42 miles (67 km) miles northwest of Ottawa, the Canadian capital, and 16 miles (25km) north-northeast of Shawville, Quebec. It originated 3.1 miles (5 km) deep and struck at 9:43 a.m. local time (13:43 UTC), the USGS reports.

There were no immediate reports of damage, but residents in eastern Ontario and west Quebec felt shaking for 30 seconds, according to the CBC. The earthquake was even felt as far away as Montreal and Toronto, according to the USGS.

Earthquakes of this size tend to be felt by people in the area but typically do not cause significant damage, other than possibly broken windows and falling dishes or the toppling of unstable objects. But the damage caused by any single event depends on the quake's depth, proximity to populated areas, building standards in the region, as well as the type of earthquake. The USGS frequently updates the magnitude of an event after more data is analyzed.

An earthquake's magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the source. It is just one predictor of the shaking that may ensue, which is affected by local and regional geology. Scientists know in a general sense what causes Earthquakes but are unable to predict specific quakes.

This article will be updated if significant additional information becomes available. Find more earthquake news here.