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USGS reports 4.0 earthquake centered in Maine

By Timothy Buckland & Jason Schreiber
Union Leader News

October 16. 2012 7:23PM
The star on this map from the United States Geological Survey website shows the epicenter of the quake, about four miles north-northeast of Waterboro, Maine, and 50 miles east-northeast of Concord, N.H. 

An earthquake that struck western Maine on Tuesday night was felt throughout New Hampshire, but no major damage was reported.

The magnitude 4.0 earthquake (initial reports had it as a 4.5, and then a 4.6) shook New England at 7:12 p.m. Tuesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

New Hampshire's 911 system received about 1,000 calls in the hour after the quake, said Jim Van Dongen, spokesman for the state's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

"People were shook up; literally and figuratively," he said. "But there were no reports of damage."

Van Dongen said the calls to 911 dropped off after that first hour. The state's Emergency Operations Center opened Tuesday, but no injuries were reported because of the earthquake and no power outages were reported, Van Dongen said.

The quake's epicenter was located about four miles north-northeast of Waterboro, Maine, and 50 miles east-northeast of Concord, N.H., according to the USGS.

Click here to view more about the earthquake on the USGS website.

"My whole house shook like the dickens," said Bobby McLaughlin of Manchester, N.H. "I was sitting on my couch and darn near fell off."

"We had stuff in the house shaking, pencils in jars going, wine bottles shaking. The house is fine, but this is like - I don't want to live in Southern California," said John Potucek of Derry, N.H.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

According to the USGS, earthquakes of Tuesday's magnitude can be felt over a large 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," according to the USGS website.

The quake rocked the 83-year-old Kingston Town Hall as the planning board was listening to plans for a proposed firing range on Route 125.

The entire building and windows shook and people could feel the floor rumbling.

"We're having an earthquake!" Chairman Rich Wilson announced as he and others on the board and in the audience looked around the building and Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr., who was sitting in the room, ran out to talk on his cell phone as calls began coming in.

Chuck Raz, president of Signs Now in Pelham, was standing outside the meeting room when the building began to move.

"First we thought it sounded like some heavy truck was going by, but then it seemed bigger than that. Then we thought a train was going by, but there's no train. Then we said, 'Earthquake.' We saw the doors rattling."

Ben Barr of Gilmanton also felt the quake while standing in the hallway outside the meeting room.

"It almost seemed like the wind was hitting the door and it started to get worse and worse," Barr said.

The quake was also felt during Tuesday's Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting in Manchester, N.H.

"We needed to shake things up," Alderman Phil Greazzo quipped.

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