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Today's earthquake likely the second largest in last 22 years

AMHERST -- Today's earthquake, which originated at the Quebec-Ontario border in Canada and was felt by many Western New Yorkers this afternoon, was likely the second largest experienced in this region in the last 22 years.

The 10-mile deep, magnitude 5.0 quake, occurred at 1:41 p.m.

Dr. Andre Filiatrault, director of the University at Buffalo’s earthquake engineering research center, called it a "moderate earthquake," with the potential to cause damage relatively close to the epicenter.

"It basically reminds us that we are in a seismic zone," said Dr. Filiatrault. "This earthquake is not unusual. It's in the Ottawa Valley, which is one of the five major seismic zones of Canada."

The last time Filiatrault could remember a quake of this size impacting this part of the country was in 1988 when an earthquake that hit Southern Quebec was felt as far south as Washington, DC.

"The most significant event in Eastern North America in recent time occured in 1988," he said of the 1988 quake. "It was the same phenomenon we seen today. That earthquake was a magnitude 6.0."

What exactly caused homes and businesses across Western New York to rattle when the earthquake hit this afternoon?

"What were feeling is waves shaking, moving away from the epicenter and making the ground vibrate," said Dr. Filiatrault.

The quake's effects were felt past the Buffalo area.

"We have reports coming in that it was felt as far as Columbus, Ohio," said Filiatrault.

Here's a video clip from today's news conference:

Here's a longer, more detailed audio clip from Dr. Filiatrault on the earthquake:

--Lauren Nicole Mariacher

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