A brief rumbling woke people up in New Jersey early Wednesday, just after they had returned to work and school following Labor Day weekend.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported a preliminary 3.1 magnitude earthquake near Freehold Township.
The National Weather Service’s Mount Holly office tweeted that the small earthquake was felt “in much of central New Jersey.”
New Jerseyans in Freehold and beyond posted about the late-night earthquake on social media, checking to see if everyone else felt the same shaking. The rattling woke up some locals who had gone to sleep, while others were startled by the event as they were getting ready to turn in for the night. Some people received earthquake alerts on their phones.
New Yorkers said they felt the Jersey event on Staten Island and in Queens.
“It sounded like a dump truck being dropped from a few stories up, but about 4-5 blocks away,” a Matawan resident reported on an earthquake-tracking website run by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre in Paris. “It rumbled the floor for about 5 seconds. I could feel from my feet on the floor and through the seat of the chair.”
The EMSC, which uses an app called LastQuake to gather witness reports, received accounts from people within a 30-mile radius of the earthquake’s origin.
“Whole house shook for several seconds at 2 a.m.,” an East Brunswick resident reported. “Initially thought it may have been a low flying aircraft or helicopter, but none in the area.”
“Everyone woke up including the dog,” a Roosevelt resident said. “I thought a car hit the garage.”
Just about nine years ago, on the afternoon of Aug. 23, 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in central Virginia shook buildings in New Jersey. It was one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in the eastern U.S.
No major damage was reported in New Jersey at that time, but some buildings were evacuated and many residents felt the shaking in their cars and offices.
The 2011 quake was the biggest felt in the state in recent memory, but there have been other minor events.
A 2.8 magnitude earthquake hit near Bernardsville in 2015. In 2014, a 1.7 magnitude earthquake rattled New Jersey southeast of Trenton. And in 2012, just days after Hurricane Sandy, a 2.0 magnitude earthquake happened near Ringwood.