October 16, 2012

4.6 magnitude quake shakes southern Maine, epicenter near Hollis

Staff report

An earthquake centered in southern Maine Tuesday evening could be felt as far north as Waterville and Augusta.

click image to enlarge

Map shows the intensity felt from Tuesday evening's 4.6 Richter earthquake with an epicenter in the southern Maine town of Hollis in York County.

U.S. Geological Survey map

The quake struck at 7:12 p.m., was centered about 13 miles northwest of Biddeford, and had a preliminary magnitude of 4.6, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Hazards Program.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency had no immediate reports of damage. The York County Communications Center near the epicenter was inundated with emergency calls, and dispatchers were too busy to talk.

Patti and Steve Libby, both 55, were at their home on West Street in Waterville when they felt the earthquake.

“We were sitting down to have a late dinner, then the table began to shake, the windows started to rattle and the floor under us began to tremble. I could hear glass rattling a couple of rooms over,” Patti Libby said. “Nothing fell over, but I expected it to.”

Steve Libby said, “It was just strong enough for me to stop eating.”

The quake was felt in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, including Boston, and as far south as Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Word of the earthquake traveled quickly across New England. The Libby’s son Ben, 22, told his parents that he was texted by a friend in Massachusetts who asked if it was felt in Waterville.

Within seconds of the quake, the Twitter universe had lit up with tweets about the quake, both from news organizations and individuals.

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