The Great Canada-Michigan-New York City Earthquake

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Downtown Ottawa © Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

A 5.0-magnitude earthquake in central Canada has left several cities shaken up, as the area rarely deals with tremors.

Although original reports measured the quake at 5.5 on the Richter Scale, an updated assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey knocked it down to 5.0.  While a 5.0-quake isn’t usually considered particularly powerful—as far as earthquakes go—the quake’s origin was thought to be quite deep, which impacts how far the effects are felt. The epicenter was in the Ontario-Quebec border region, north of Ottawa, approximately 11 miles below ground.

Apparently the tremors were strongly felt in Ottawa, where several buildings were evacuated and rescue workers were flooded with calls. “The city was in a bit of a panic, which is to be expected,” Ottawa paramedic spokesman, J. P. Trottier, told the Globe and Mail.

The last time a major earthquake hit the same fault line is in 1998, measuring 5.4 on the Richter Scale.

The earthquake was felt less strongly in Montreal and Toronto, where the city has already been dealing with unrest due to the G8 and G20 summits next week (hello, irony).

Twitter and blog updates are reporting that the earthquake was felt as far away as New York City and Michigan, though they haven’t been confirmed.