Earthquake rocks the east coast

East coast earthquake

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(ABC 6 News) – A very rare earthquake rattled northern New Jersey and New York City, even reaching the nation’s capitol.

According to Columbia University this is the biggest quake on record in the area since 1884.

The 4.8 magnitude earthquake brought life on the east coast to a halt Friday morning.

“I don’t think anyone in the room really realized what was going on in the moment,” said Minnesota native Nathan Daggett.

Daggett, originally form Richfield, Minn., was at work in New Jersey when the quake hit.

“The monitors were shaking, I honestly thought the ceiling was going to fall down, and it was obviously a weird feeling, obviously something I’ve never felt before,” said Daggett.

While the quake was a surprise for Hannah Craven, who spent some time in the Bay Area and now lives in New York City, but she says it’s not new to her.

“And it did extend it was several seconds, you know, it started and built a little bit, but so I was on a call and said to my colleague who was also on that call and in New York City. ‘Hey, this is an earthquake lets step into our doorways,'” said Craven.

But how did mother nature create an earthquake in a relatively inactive part of the world? Dr. Jennifer Anderson with Winona State University says faults were created along the east coast when the Appalachian Mountains were formed about 400 million years ago.

“But those faults are still there in the depth of the crust and so they can be reactivated. They already exist, it’s kind of like you’ve got a broken part, you know, and you can rebreak it,” said Dr. Anderson.

The epicenter of the earthquake was marked near Lebanon, N.J., which sits along the Ramapo Fault Zone.

Anderson says as the tension builds along those fault lines, “all of a sudden those plates quickly deform, and they move past each other and that what causes this giant sound wave to move out through the earth’s surface and that’s what we experience as an earthquake.”

Though the quake was considered small, it still shook people in its path.

“It was super eerie, just a crazy feeling,” said Daggett.

“Everyone experienced it. So, I would say, that quake was felt, you know, by everywhere in New York,” said Craven.

So far, no reports of any significant damage or loss of life just many people still shaken up after the quake.