A 1.2-magnitude earthquake rattled Peabody, Massachusetts, Wednesday night.
The earthquake struck at 7:45 p.m. local time and occurred at a depth of over three miles below the ground. Slight shaking was reported in nearby towns. No injuries or damage have been reported.
Earthquakes are actually not uncommon here in New England. We typically see small ones occur throughout the year. The region is criss-crossed by local fault lines left over from the creation of the Appalachian Mountains and can still trigger earthquakes. Moderately-damaging earthquakes strike somewhere in New England every few decades, and smaller earthquakes are felt roughly twice a year.
Tectonic plates move ever-so-slowly and as they either push into each other, pull apart, or slide side-by-side, earthquakes are possible within the bedrock, usually miles deep. Most of New England's bedrock was assembled as continents collided to form a supercontinent 500-300 million years ago, raising the northern Appalachian Mountains.
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The most recent New England earthquake occurred at the end of July and was observed as 1.6-magnitude in Charlotte, Maine.