Saturday, November 28, 2015

Earthquake rattles eastern Ontario near Cornwall

Daniel Martins:

Saturday, November 28, 2015, 1:54 PM - People in eastern Ontario were rattled by an earthquake in the early morning hours Saturday, with reports of shaking in and around Cornwall, Ont.

Earthquakes Canada rates the tremor at magnitude 3.6, though the United States Geological Survey (USGS) later rated it 3.3, which is relatively low on the scale. It struck in upstate New York, 15 km south of Cornwall.

However, its relatively shallow depth of 5 km made it noticeable to residents of the region, and reports of shaking have come in from eastern Ontario, upstate New York and Montreal.

No damage has been reported, but the Cornwall Seaway News said residents heard a loud crack before the rumbling started, lasting about 20 minutes.

That part of the country is prone to the occasional earthquake. Most are not powerful enough to cause any major damage, but there are exceptions. In 1944, for example, a magnitude 5.8 quake caused about $20 million (in 2002 dollars) to Cornwall and Massena, New York.

According to the Cornwall Seaway News, a 2006 study by the Insurance Bureau of Canada says there is a 15 per cent chance a major earthquake will strike the Ottawa and St. Lawrence river valleys in the next half-century. Cornwall's CAO told the News the city is in the process of updating its emergency plan.

"They are a risk," Norm Levac says. "It's something we've spent some time on."
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