When the Earth Shakes - Animated video

DATE: January 15, 2015

TIME: 7:30 PM 

SUBJECT: Connecticut Earthquake Swarm


Since Thursday, January 8th, as many as a dozen minor earthquakes have been detected/recorded by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Weston Observatory in the area of Plainfield, Killingly, and Sterling in eastern Connecticut, with the most recent occurring at 4:39 this morning. The strongest of these, a magnitude 3.3 quake, occurred on Monday, January 12th, and was felt across southern New England, including in multiple areas of Massachusetts. It should be noted that a 3.3 magnitude earthquake is close to the average of the strongest earthquake in New England each year, and that earthquakes under 5.0 magnitude typically do not cause structural damage.  

Today, MEMA hosted a conference call with the Weston Observatory.  The state emergency management agencies in Connecticut and Vermont, and the Northeast States Emergency Consortium (NESEC) also participated in the call.  According to the Weston Observatory, these earthquakes are associated with an earthquake "swarm", which is a series or burst of earthquakes in succession. The last earthquake swarm to occur in New England took place in Bar Harbor, Maine in 2006-2007. It is not possible to predict the frequency of future earthquakes in a swarm based on past activity, or the duration of the swarm.  Earthquake swarms are not usually followed by a significantly stronger quake, although this possibility cannot be conclusively ruled out and there are instances of swarms being followed by a strong, damaging earthquake.

The Weston Observatory has deployed mobile seismographs to the area to capture more detailed information on local seismic activity and has coordinated with the Connecticut state geologist to conduct data collection. The seismographs will remain in place for at least three weeks.

The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection is continuing to monitor the earthquake activity and will be holding a multi-agency briefing tomorrow morning at its emergency operations center.

MEMA has been in contact with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and has been advised that none of the nuclear power plants in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are reporting operational issues or concerns as a result of the earthquake activity.

This screen capture from the US Geological Survey website shows the approximate locations and magnitude of earthquakes recorded over the past seven days in eastern Connecticut:


Earthquake Safety Tips:

·       If you are indoors during an earthquake: DROP to the ground; take COVER under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until it stops.

·       If you are outdoors during an earthquake: Stay outside, away from buildings, utility wires, anything that can fall on you or your vehicle and wait.

·       After an earthquake, do not call 9-1-1 unless you have an emergency. Keep phone lines open for emergencies.

Additional information on actions to take before during, and after an earthquake can be found on the MEMA website at:

The Weston Observatory has information on the history of earthquake activity in New England at

MEMA Operations:

This afternoon, MEMA participated in a conference call with the Weston Observatory, the states of Connecticut and Vermont, and the Northeast States Emergency Consortium.


The State Emergency Operations Center is operating at Level 1 (Steady State Monitoring).  MEMA will continue to monitor the situation and will disseminate additional Situational Awareness Statements as necessary. 


Stay Informed: 

For additional information and updated forecasts, see (National Weather Service Taunton) (National Weather Service Albany)

For real-time power outage information, by community, county, and provider, see MEMA's Power Outage Website:

Utilize Massachusetts Alerts to receive emergency notifications and information from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service.  Massachusetts Alerts is a free app that is available for Android and iPhones. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone,

Online Resources:

For additional information and resources, visit:
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency at
MEMA's Facebook page:
MEMA Twitter: @MassEMA 
Federal Emergency Management Agency at
National Weather Service/Taunton at
National Weather Service/Albany, NY at
National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center:
National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center:
Northeast River Forecast Center:

Mass211 at




Kurt Schwartz
Undersecretary, Homeland Security & Emergency Management
Director, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security

   © Douglas Leard 2014