Why the East Coast Earthquake Covered So Much Ground

Friday morning at around 10:30 local time, a magnitude 4.8 earthquake popped three miles below Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Though nowhere near the magnitude of the West Coast’s monster quakes, the seismic waves traveled hundreds of miles, jostling not just nearby New York City, but Philadelphia and Boston and Washington, DC. The United States Geological Survey is urging the region to prepare for aftershocks of smaller magnitude.

For a region not accustomed to earthquakes, it was a jolt. Its wide-ranging impact turns out to be not a quirk, but a byproduct of the East Coast’s unique geology of ancient fault lines and rock composition.

“Earthquakes in this region are uncommon, but

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