New Englanders from Maine to Massachusetts, and as far away as Connecticut, felt the 4.0 magnitude earthquake centered in Hollis Center, Maine, at about 7:12 p.m. Tuesday.
It was the largest earthquake in New England since 1982, when a 4.7 quake centered in Laconia, N.H., shook homes and rattled shelves.
Dr. John Ebel, a geophysics professor at Boston College and director of the Weston Observatory Boston College, said earthquakes start to cause damage when they reach a 5.0 magnitude.
As far Tuesday’s quake goes, he said he suspects that homes near the epicenter may have had some dishes rattle and cracking in old plaster walls. There were no injuries or major damage reported.
New England is no stranger to earthquake activity.
The last earthquake to reach the 4.0 threshold was in 2006, a 4.0 quake in Bar Harbor, Maine.
And the grand-daddy of New England quakes dates back to 1755.
That quake is estimated to have been a 6.25 shaker and was felt throughout New England.
In 1925, a 6.2 quake struck in Canada and was felt in New England, as well.
So, what is the potential for a big one, a California-esque quake in staid New England?
Ebel said such a quake could happen here.
Any place in the world that experiences regular earthquake activity is at risk for a major quake at some point, he said.
When he said some point, he was speaking geologically, which means it could hit tomorrow, or a month from now, or in 10 years, or in a hundred or more years.
But the potential exists.
And as far as aftershocks from Tuesday’s quake, he said there is potential for aftershocks close to the center over the next day or two.
He did not expect that people in Massachusetts would feel the aftershocks.