Small earthquake in Maine felt all over New England

10:11 AM, Oct 17, 2012   |    comments
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( - New Englanders were shaken late Tuesday by a 4.0 magnitude earthquake centered about three miles west of Hollis Center, Maine, or about 52 east-northeast of Concord, New Hampshire.

The USGS says it took place about 7:12 p.m. local time. It was originally reported to be a 4.6 magnitude, but was later downgraded.

Residents all across Massachusetts report that their homes were shaking, but there are no reports of any major damage, reports CBS affiliate WBZ in Boston. CBS' Maine affiliates are also not reporting any major damage.

"I'm trying to eat and next thing I know I hear rumbling and I'm chasing my food down the table," Sue Anderson, a homeowner in Biddeford, Maine, told WBZ. "It sounded and felt like a freight train had dropped over."

About 10 miles (16 kilometers) away in Waterboro, about 20 customers and staff at Waterboro House of Pizza ran outside when they heard a loud bang and the building shook.

"It was the loudest bang you ever heard in your life. We actually thought it was an explosion of some type," said owner Jessica Hill. "The back door and door to the basement blew open."

In nearby Saco, Sue Hadiaris said, "The whole house shook. It felt like a train was coming right through the house. It was very unnerving because you could feel the floor shaking. There was a queasy feeling."

Lynette Miller, a spokeswoman for the Maine Emergency Management Agency, said her dogs started barking several seconds before the quake. "It was several seconds of good shaking but nothing falling down," Miller said from her home in Readfield, about 60 miles north of Portland.

The Seabrook Station nuclear plant, about 63 miles away in New Hampshire, declared an unusual event -- the lowest of four emergency classifications, but said it was not affected. The plant has been offline for refueling.

"There has been no impact at all to the plant from the earthquake and our refueling maintenance activities have not been affected," said Alan Griffith, spokesman for Next EnergyEra Seabrook Station.

Last August, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia was felt all the way up the east coast.

The USGS reports: "People in New England, and in its geological extension southward through Long Island, have felt small earthquakes and suffered damage from infrequent larger ones since colonial times. Moderately damaging earthquakes strike somewhere in the region every few decades, and smaller earthquakes are felt roughly twice a year."

© 2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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