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Largest Quake in 18 Years Hits NYC Region

A magnitude-3.9 earthquake rattled the New York City region Tuesday (Nov. 30), rocking into the history books as the biggest temblor to hit the area in 18 years, according to WNYC.

The earthquake occurred at about 10:45 a.m. EST in the Atlantic Ocean some 82 miles (131 kilometers) south-southeast of Westhampton, NY, according to Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO).

Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the West, are typically felt over a much broader region, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Tuesday's quake caused no damage and didn't hurt anyone, with the U.S. Coast Guard saying there was no threat of a tsunami, according to WNYC.

The region extending from the Rockies to the Atlantic can go years without an earthquake large enough to be felt, and several U.S. states have never reported a damaging earthquake, according to the USGS. On Dec 19, 1737, a magnitude-5.2 earthquake struck the greater New York City area, and on Aug. 10, 1884, another 5.2 earthquake occurred in the same area, reportedly felt from Virginia to Maine, according to the LDEO. More recently, in 2001, two earthquakes hit Manhattan – a magnitude-2.4 in January and a magnitude-2.6 quake in October.

Jeanna Bryner
Before becoming managing editor, Jeanna served as a reporter for Live Science and for about three years. Previously she was an assistant editor at Scholastic's Science World magazine. Jeanna has an English degree from Salisbury University, a Master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and a science journalism degree from New York University. Follow Jeanna on Google+.