Earthquake Blamed for Series of Explosions in NYC

( – On Tuesday morning, Jan. 2, a 1.7 magnitude earthquake reached New York City and may have caused a series of explosions, according to officials.

The tremor took place at approximately 5:45 AM, according to the US Geological Survey, near the Queens neighborhood of Astoria. Aries Dela Cruz, a spokesperson for the NYC Office of Emergency Management, said no injuries or structural damage have been reported, nor any impacts to utility services, transit, or traffic.

Residents from Queens and Manhattan reported what they believed to be small explosions early in the morning coming from Roosevelt Island, a strip of land between the two boroughs stretching 2 miles in the East River. The explosions may have been underground and electrical, although FDNY found no fires or injuries.

The US Geological Survey received at least 276 notifications from residents in the area within a 30-mile radius of the quake’s epicenter. The furthest report came all the way from Guilford, Connecticut, roughly 75 miles away from Astoria.

The explosions came from the area south of the bridge connecting the island to Queens, around Main St. At least one building nearby shook from the explosion, according to callers and the FDNY. After making sure the area was clear, the fire department passed the baton to Con Edison to investigate, and residents were directed to stay clear of the area during the ongoing probe.

A Consolidated Edison spokesperson, Allan Drury, said that the utility service suspects the explosions were caused by the quake because the two events happened synonymously. No power outages occurred, according to Drury. Officials from the City Buildings Department also went to Roosevelt Island and reported no structural damages or issues related to the explosion.

A few hours before the earthquake in New York, a 2.3 magnitude tremor in Maryland’s Washington, D.C. suburbs. No explosions were reported from that incident, nor any damage or injuries. Although small earthquakes of this kind are not common in that area or in New York City, they’re also not unheard of.

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