Earthquake Hits New England

Rebecca C. Maddalo ’13 was sitting in the basement of Sever Hall in Harvard Yard at 7:12 on Tuesday evening when she felt her chair begin to shake. Wondering what might have caused the mysterious rumbling, she looked online for clues.

“At first I thought it was maybe the T,” she said. “It was just weird.”

In reality, a 4.0 magnitude earthquake centered in Maine and felt throughout New England rattled Maddalo and other students at the College. The majority of Harvard students reached by The Crimson for interviews Tuesday evening said they did not feel the earthquake. Among those who did, reactions ranged from indifference to mild annoyance.

“I was basically sitting on my computer and my chair was shaking. It wasn’t really big deal,” said Thomas J. Gaudett ’14. “I immediately went online to use Facebook and Twitter to see what it was, and that’s pretty much it.”

Jennifer T. Soong ’14, who is also a Crimson arts editor, described the earthquake as slightly more dramatic than a minor quake she experienced last summer in New Jersey.

“I felt the sudden shaking and all the sudden my roommate came out into the common room and I just said ‘Is that a fucking earthquake?’” she said. “My roommate said ‘I don’t know. I think it was just a rager next door.’”

The 4.0 magnitude places the earthquake among the 13,000 estimated tremors of similar strength that strike around the world every year, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Cambridge Police Department spokesperson Daniel M. Riviello told The Crimson in an email that he had not seen any reports of damage or injury in Cambridge.

The last earthquake to cause damage in Maine occurred in 1957, when a seism broke windows and dishes in Portland. A 1965 shock hit Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, leading to reports of damaged ornaments, according to the United States Geological Survey.

More recently, residents across the eastern seaboard felt a 5.9 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter in Virgnia in August 2011. That earthquake surprised locals, many of whom had never experienced an earthquake before.

—Staff writer Justin C. Worland can be reached at

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:


Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Rebecca C. Maddalo as a member of the Class of 2014. In fact, she is a member of the Class of 2013.


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