Shaken, Not Stirred: The Unexpected Earthquake in New Jersey

Rumbling Realities: The Day New Jersey Trembled

On a seemingly ordinary day in New Jersey, residents experienced a rare phenomenon for our region that sent shockwaves through the community—both literally and figuratively.

In this post, I’ll delve into the details of the recent earthquake, compare it to past events, and share my personal experience with the tremor that definitely caught me and so many others by surprise.

The Earthquake of April 5, 2024

Magnitude and Epicenter

The morning of April 5, 2024, brought with it an unusual start for the people of New Jersey. At precisely 10:23 AM, a significant earthquake, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook the state.

Centered 30 miles west of Newark, this was the strongest earthquake to hit New Jersey in the last decade.

The effects of the earthquake were felt in parts of Pennsylvania and New York too.

The Ramapo Fault: A Sleeping Giant

Geographically, this earthquake originated from an area recognized for its seismic potential, yet seldom realized—the Ramapo Fault. Despite the potential for seismic activity, earthquakes of notable strength are a rarity in this region, making the event both a geological and communal anomaly.

I’m speaking for myself when I say this particular earthquake was the second one I have ever felt and at that, it was by far the strongest. 🫨

A Historical Perspective

New Jersey’s Earthquake History

To put this event into context, it’s essential to look back at New Jersey’s seismic history. Over the past decade, our region has witnessed only a couple of earthquakes with a magnitude of four or above, marking the April 5 tremor as a significant outlier.

Recalling My First Earthquake

My first time feeling an earthquake was probably 5-10 years ago. I was in my bedroom at the time and my house shook so much that picture frames fell off my wall. It’s crazy to think how shocking that earthquake was and how much weaker it was compared to the one that happened yesterday.

The comparison between these two events underlines the unpredictable nature of earthquakes in regions not typically prone to such occurrences. It’s always shocking, no matter how minor it is.

A Personal Account: The Earthquake Experience

I was on a Zoom call yesterday morning when all of a sudden, the walls around me began to rumble and shake. I looked around as the noise grew louder and louder. The sound of ceramics rattling filled the room.

The intensity of whatever was happening increased in intensity so fast that my fight or flight response was activated pretty much immediately. I slammed my iPad closed (no comment on the meeting, just slammed the device closed), grabbed it and ran for the door. The rumble and shaking lasted nearly 30 seconds, and during those seconds, it felt like it was never ending.

My first instinct was to get outside because of how everything was shaking, I really thought the building was going to blow up. All I could think about was that some machine was malfunctioning and god forbid it was gas related, I was preparing for some kind of explosion. The possibility of an earthquake never even crossed my mind. I did think there was a real possibility the roof was going to collapse over my head.

Someone else I was in the building with said they thought a truck crashed into the structure with the way things were shaking.

Outside, everyone evacuated in a frenzy of confusion and panic. My heart was racing and I felt so scared about whatever just happened. News of an earthquake hit my phone moments later and I was astounded to realize what had taken place.

This event was a profound demonstration of the earth’s power and unpredictability and an interesting reminder that the tectonic plates we stand on are constantly shifting ever so slightly, even if we aren’t aware of their movement normally.

Embracing the Unexpected

The recent earthquake in New Jersey is a reminder of the earth’s dynamic nature. It underscores the importance of preparedness, even in areas where such events are rare. Thankfully, the physical damage was minimal for most. I didn’t even have anything break this time around. On the other hand, the psychological impact and the shake-up to our sense of security was significant. People were buzzing about it all day, especially when we felt an aftershock 8 hours later.

As we move forward, let us do so with a renewed respect for nature’s might and an understanding that the ground beneath us is not as stable as it seems.

The earthquake of April 2024 will undoubtedly remain etched in the memories of those who experienced it. Quakes serve as a reminder that, on this planet, we are all just passengers on a journey through time, subject to the whims of the natural world. As we continue to explore, understand, and respect these forces, we grow as a community, resilient and ready for whatever comes our way.


  1. I was on the road on Friday and didn’t hear any news about this… so glad it wasn’t any worse than it was. I know there is a fault that runs through the Midwest too, but it has never shaken in my lifetime that I know of. Hope no more aftershocks have occurred.

    1. Thank goodness nothing bad happened! It was pretty freaky to feel the earthquake. When I talked to my dad, he said he was outside and he didn’t feel anything. I think being in an older building made it seem more noticeable for me!

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