Canada earthquake measures 5.0; shakes Ottawa, Toronto, and U.S.

Canada earthquake: Parliament building in Ottawa evacuated. Workers also left buildings in Toronto

By , AP

  • close
    Canada earthquake? Police secure the area around the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario on June 23, 2010. Thousands of police from all across Canada have been brought into downtown Toronto to handle security for the G20 this weekend. A moderate earthquake shook Ottawa and Montreal on Wednesday, forcing office workers out onto downtown streets in Canada's capital.
    View Caption

A magnitude-5.0 earthquake struck at the Ontario-Quebec border region of Canada on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and homes and businesses were shaken from Canada's capital in Ottawa on south to an arc of U.S. states.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Morgan Moschetti, a seismologist with the USGS, said it was not unusual for an earthquake to be felt 300 miles (482 kilometers) from the epicenter and noted that the latest quake was felt in the U.S. from Chicago to Maine.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

IN PICTURES: Photos of the Guatemalan sinkhole

Other states that reported feeling tremors were Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York.

The epicenter of the quake was in Quebec, about 23 miles (38 kilometers) north of Cumberland, Ontario, on the Ottawa River, the USGS said.

The agency said the quake occurred at a depth of about 12 miles (19.2 kilometers) at 1:45 p.m. EDT (1741 GMT). The agency initially said the quake had a 5.5 magnitude, but later reduced it to a magnitude-5.0.

The tremors, which lasted about 30 seconds, rattled buildings in Ottawa and Toronto, as well as government offices across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec.

The Parliament building in Ottawa was evacuated, with workers sent home while the building was inspected. Workers also left buildings in Toronto.

The quake came just ahead of the weekend summit of G-20 and G-8 world leaders in Toronto and Huntsville, Ontario.

Melanie Lauzon, a Liberal member of Parliament, said her first thought was that Ottawa had been hit with "with a very large car bomb," since the quake struck on the eve of the summits.

Conservative Senator Lowell Murray said the massive chandeliers of the upper chamber of Parliament began swaying during a mundane debate on energy issues.

"Initially we thought it might have been an airplane crashing into the building," Murray said. "But we were standing around wondering what was going on. And I quickly realized it was an earthquake. And then everybody started shouting out, out, out."

Residents of a number of states in the Midwest and Northeast reported feeling the earthquake.

In Ohio, people reported the sound of plaster cracking in Cleveland and buildings in Cincinnati gently swaying.

In Cleveland, James Haselden says his office in a renovated 19th century brick building swayed and he heard plastic cracking but saw no damage.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on its website that the Canadian quake was felt by some residents in the western Pennsylvania area.

NEXT PAGE

The quake also was felt in New Jersey, where the Bergen County administration building in Hackensack was evacuated after employees reported they felt a tremor.

Bergen County Police Lt. Christine Francois said numerous people in the Hackensack and Englewood areas called police to report earth tremors.

In Michigan, residents from suburban Detroit to Port Huron and Saginaw reported feeling the earthquake.

Detroit police spokeswoman Yvette Walker told The Associated Press that police personnel on the upper floors of the downtown headquarters building reported feeling the quake.

In New York state, people from Buffalo to Albany and north to Massena on the St. Lawrence River said pets were startled and plates rattled when the quake hit.

New York City officials said police received emergency calls came in from all over the city about shaking buildings, but there were no reports of damage.

David French, 53-year-old state worker from Cicero, New York, said he was at his computer inside his home near Syracuse when he felt his chair shake.

"I thought the chair was breaking or something," he said. "I looked over and my filing cabinet was moving."

The quake prompted several calls to state police in the Adirondacks area.

"A little shake, nothing too big," is how Trooper Mark Revette described the temblor. "It happens. We get a couple of these a year."

Kellie Tassone, 40, was at home on Oneida Lake in Cicero.

"My dog picked his head up just before it happened and kind of looked at me," she said. Then the sliding door started to rattle "and the house was shaking."

The USGS said the two largest quakes in western Quebec occurred in 1935 at magnitude-6.1 and in 1732 at a magnitude of 6.2, where it caused significant damage in Montreal.

The agency said earthquakes cause significant damage in the region about once a decade. Smaller earthquakes are felt three or four times a year.

RELATED:

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...