Earthquake in Canada rattles upstate New York

CNY Central TMs newsroom has been flooded with calls from local residents who reported an earthquake early Wednesday afternoon.

The U.S. Geological Center reports that the epicenter was approximately 40-45 miles north of Ottawa, Ontario and hit at 1:41:42 p.m. The USGC reports the quake registered a magnitude 5.0 on the Richter scale and took place 12 miles below the Earth's surface. The tremors reportedly lasted from 30-45 seconds in many places.

People from Buffalo to Albany and north to Massena on the St. Lawrence River say pets were startled and plates rattled at about 1:45 p.m. One viewer, Bill Fleming in Bayberry (Town of Clay), reported the first movements at around 1:43.

"My dog picked his head up just before it happened and kind of looked at me," said Kellie Tassone, who was at her at home on Oneida Lake. Then the sliding door started to rattle "and the house was shaking."

David French said he was at his computer inside his Cicero home 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."

We felt the same movement in our newsroom, and our news teams out in the community have reported the same thing. We have received calls and emails from people all over the area, ranging from Volney and Central Square in Oswego County to Liverpool, Syracuse, and Camillus in Onondaga County and even out to Herkimer and Ilion in Herkimer County.

CNY Central has called several area 911 centers to find out if the earthquake has caused any damages. So far 911 centers in Onondaga, Oswego, Jefferson, Madison, Oneida, Cayuga, Cortland and Tompkins counties say they haven't received any calls about damage. They did say, however, they received dozens of phone calls from people who were simply wondering what what happened.

Bill Bleyle from Onondaga County 911 Center says during the first 20 minutes after the quake staff members received 124 phone calls. The normal volume for that span of time is usually around 30-40. Most callers were asking what happened. Many calls came from downtown Syracuse and some of the taller buildings. Bleyle says the 911 center staff did not feel anything there.

According to CNY Central Chief Meteorologist Wayne Mahar, the largest earthquake on record in New York State was a 5.8 on the Richter scale on September 5, 1944. That quake was centered near Massena in St. Lawrence County. The USGS has published an article on the history of earthquakes in New York. You can read it here .

An interesting note: Boston College has published a map showing seismic activity in the northeastern United States from October 1975 through December 2008.

An Ottawa resident uploaded a video to YouTube showing the effects of the earthquake in his apartment.

The quake was felt as far away as Michigan and Vermont. In New York, it prompted several calls to state police in Ray Brook in the Adirondacks. "A little shake, nothing too big," said Trooper Mark Revette. "It happens. We get a couple of these a year."

The Office of General Services, which manages state buildings across New York, said that an initial survey after the quake found no damage to their structures.

The quake rattled downtown buildings and homes in Ottawa and Toronto, as well as government offices across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec. Several buildings in Toronto and the Ottawa region were evacuated.

Click here for more on this story from the Ottawa Citizen.

If you felt any of these tremors, please feel free to leave a comment below and tell us what happened.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.