And we're all shook up. Well, the Southern Tier of New York isn't, but the Buffalo area certainly was this morning (February 6th, 2023.)  According to the Buffalo News, a 3.8 magnitude earthquake occurred, at 6:15 am centered on the northeastern edge of West Seneca.


New York State Earthquakes


Seismograph instrument recording ground motion during earthquake

While earthquakes occur many times in New York State, this one was bigger than most. If my math proves correct, looking at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website, only 21 out of 871 earthquakes recorded since 1914 in New York state, have been larger than this one.

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Just how has New York State fared in the past with earthquakes? Let's take a look. The website Deep Geothermal Heat at Cornell University notes that one of the most current earthquakes occurred southwest of Rochester in March 2022 with a magnitude of 1.7.

Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Central New York Earthquakes

Illustrations showing tectonic plates moving in opposite directions along fault line underground, and destruction caused by earthquake above

In the Finger Lakes area, only two earthquakes have been recorded recently. One was under Seneca Lake in 2013 with a 1.7 magnitude, and the other was near Hornell in 2001 with a magnitude of 3.2 during a 10-day period of a series of events. Deep Geothermal Heat states that this event was activated by human activity.

The Southern Tier of New York as well as Central New York seems to be largely unscathed when it comes to earthquake activity compared to other parts of the state, more specifically Western New York, the Adirondack region, and the New York City region according to The Northeast States Emergency Consortium. 

New York State's Largest Earthquake

The Buffalo News states that the biggest Western New York earthquake occurred in 1929 with a 4.8 magnitude, in Attica, New York. The Northeast State Emergency Consortium states that this earthquake caused major damage in Massena, New York as well as Cornwall, Ontario.

The NSEC study shows that of the eight Northeast states, New York State has felt the most earthquakes, with Maine coming in second. The United States Geological Survey has an interesting map and history of every earthquake recorded not only through New York State but all over the world.

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