2.4-magnitude quake jostles the earth in southern Maine

A 2.4-magnitude earthquake rumbled through the earth this morning just west of Hollis Center, Maine, the same area shaken by the 4.0-magnitude quake felt by New Englanders as far south as Taunton less than two months ago.

The small quake hit the area around 6:11 a.m., according to the US Geological Survey.

The epicenter was located in Waterboro, Maine, but many reports have also listed the epicenter to be closer to Lake Arrowhead, said John Ebel, a seismologist and director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory.

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“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if we saw over the next few months more earthquakes of this size,” Ebel said, adding that quakes that are about 2.0 in magnitude are too small for any damage to be reported.

More than 140 responses were recorded on the Geological Survey’s website, with the majority of responders coming from Hollis Center and Buxton, Maine.

In addition, the quake was felt by one responder — about 72 miles from the epicenter — in Tewksbury, although unless more reports between Maine and Massachusetts are reported, it could be deemed a mistaken report.

“Sometimes, we get these reports from much farther away,” Ebel said. “Usually people who felt something else but thought it was the earthquake because they had heard about it.”

Unlike California, which sits atop major fault lines, New England generally experiences less earthquakes because the area is far from the nearest tectonic plate boundaries, located in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the Geological Survey.

“It’s a pretty average year so far in terms of numbers of events,” Ebel said, explaining that New England detects about 20 earthquakes per year, but only a half-dozen of them are felt. “The last one we had was in October, so if we are to feel one about every month or two, then we’re right on the average.”

The most recent earthquake in the region to cause moderate damage was a 5.6-magnitude quake in central New Hampshire in 1940, according to agency.