Queens rocked by rare 4.8 earthquake from New Jersey: Social media buzzes with reactions

Photo by Juan Karmy Unsplash and Anthony Medina

Queens residents shaken by a 4.8 magnitude earthquake, originating in New Jersey earlier today, Friday, Apr. 5, quickly took to social media in response to the sudden seismic event. 

The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed Friday morning that the earthquake felt across New York City hit at around 10:23 a.m. and centered about three miles northeast of Lebanon, New Jersey. 

To better understand what went on behind Friday’s earthquake, QNS spoke exclusively with Jessica Domino, an Astoria resident and a seismic analyst with the Bureau of Economic Geology.

Domino explained that the seismic activity felt particularly in the East Coast area is not as common, but they are limited to isolated events.

In 2011, the tremors from a 5.9 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter in Virginia could be felt from parts of New York City, earlier reporting details. The National Park Service would also reveal that seismic activity created a crack in the Washington Monument in 2011. 

Domino says the recent quake originates from the Ramapo Fault, a series of fracture points in the earth dating back to hundreds of millions of years old — forming when the Atlantic Ocean began to open. 

It is also known as one of the oldest and longest fault lines in the Northeast, Domino explained. Over many years, pressure begins to build up in the earth and eventually created the shaking New York residents felt early Friday. 

“So think about if you were to have a deck of cards, and you’re applying pressure with your hands, and they’re sliding past each other,” Domino said. “That’s essentially what we’re thinking about here, but on a much bigger scale.”

The likelihood of an aftershock, on the minds of many residents, is not guaranteed but residents should still practice caution, according to Domino. As an expert Seismologist, she says aftershocks do occur but only when there’s enough energy that needs to be released. 

“The more energy released in the initial earthquake, there’s likely to be aftershocks of lower magnitude. This one, because it’s been such a long time since there’s been an event along this fault, It’s hard to say if there will or won’t be.” Domino says. “It’s always just better to err on the side of caution and help people prepare for it.”

Social media platforms buzzed with activity as city residents rushed to verify their experiences of an earthquake, quickly followed by a flurry of posts sharing their stories and connecting over the shared event.

“My whole house shook,” wrote one Facebook user in the comment section of an Ozone Park Facebook group post.

“I thought there was a bus passing by my house, usually that’s what happens when a bus passes by,” another user commented, seemingly unphased in describing the tremor as a normal occurrence.

Other community group pages on Facebook shared similar reactions to the earthquake. 

Residents in the BlaQue Resource Network Facebook group — a page dedicated to Black residents in the Queens neighborhoods — had over 90 people in the Facebook group commenting about the event.  

Comments as part of the group page ranged from a barrage of emojis, to fearful responses — with some saying they’re still coming to terms with the ordeal. 

“My entire building in Astoria shook. All the tenants left, “ wrote one commenter in western Queens.

Other residents said their family members across the tri-state area, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Albany, NY, reached out to check in and alert them about the earthquake.  

One resident described the seconds-long tremors as a scary experience. “ The way my bed shook had me scared,” wrote one user. 

On the Facebook Ridgewood Community Group on Facebook, residents mirrored what many across the city expressed online.  

“I was sitting at the kitchen table. I thought maybe our building’s boiler was exploding,” wrote Sheila Lanham, in response to a QNS request for the public to share their experiences. “It was a strong shake! Jumped up and floor still moving. Yikes, went to grab my keys, but then it stopped.”

“I was double parked outside my building and the car just shook from side to side,” wrote Angela Angie Njamcu. 

“​​I took PTO today and was sitting next to my computer and freaking out cause the building kept shaking and the windows wouldn’t stop,” commenter Eric Li added. 

Elected officials including Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Assemblymember Steven Raga took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to shared news and updates about the earthquake online.

Raga shared with X users, “A 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck New Jersey, with its tremors felt across New York. We’re communicating with agencies for updates as they come.”

 Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Raga via X


“We’re really moving and shaking here in Queens, in more than one way,” Richards said on X. “My team and I will be monitoring conditions across the borough today following the earthquake. How are you feeling and what are you seeing in your community?”

The NYC Emergency Management System has also issued this warning: If you are in danger, please dial 911. To report non-emergency issues please call 311. Communicate your status so others know you’re okay. Text messages are more likely to go through when phone lines are busy. Check on your neighbors if safe to do so.

 Emergency Alert advises residents to call EMS services if injured. Photo courtesy of Athena Dawson