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The Journal Pioneer
Did you feel the earth move? You might have, if you live in northeastern New Brunswick. At precisely 9:47 a.m. ADT July 16, an earthquake occurred 15 km west of Petit-Rocher, N.B. It measured 3.7 on the Richter scale. It was followed by a weaker aftershock at 12:45 p.m.
Shortly after that, the posts started to appear on my Facebook page:
Nicole Doiron: I felt it both times. The first time I thought “earthquake,” then told myself, naw, must have been construction somewhere. The second time was less noticeable.
Julie Doucet: I felt the first one at 9:45 a.m. in Beresford, N.B.
Lynn Ferlatte: Whole house shook in Belledune. We had two of them.
Francis Dempsey: There was two separate ones I believe my house rumbled two separate times, the second one was not near as strong as the first one though.
Many people started asking if earthquakes are common here in Atlantic Canada. The answer is no, unless you live in New Brunswick. The Northern Appalachians Seismic Zone includes most of New Brunswick and extends into New England down to Boston.
In the Miramichi area of central New Brunswick, a series of significant earthquakes occurred in 1982. The largest measured 5.7 on the Richter scale; it was followed by numerous aftershocks. The zone also witnesses a continuing low level of seismic activity.
Back to Monday’s seismic episode for a moment: a measured 3.7 tremor is considered at the upper end of a minor quake. Minor earthquakes fall in the range from 0 to 3.9; moderate ones from 5 to 5.9; strong earthquakes from 6 to 6.9, and most destructive ones occur in the range of 7 and above.
Many years ago, people believed there was a connection between earthquakes and the weather. Perhaps you’ve heard the term “earthquake weather.” It describes the sultry, ominously uneasy period believed to precede large earthquakes.
Today we know that there is no such thing as “earthquake weather.” Statistically, there is a fairly equal distribution of earthquakes in cold weather, hot weather, rainy weather and sunny weather. Very large areas of low-pressure, associated with major storm systems like hurricanes and typhoons are known to trigger episodes of fault slip or slow earthquakes in the Earth’s crust. These may eventually play a role in triggering some damaging earthquakes. However, the numbers are small and are not statistically significant.