The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2005 September 27

3.5 quake hits region


ST. GEORGE/CALAIS – Residents from as far apart as St. George, Blacks Harbour and Meddybemps reported feeling a minor earthquake that occurred shortly after midnight Saturday, making dishes rattle but causing no damage.

According to the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) the earthquake of 3.5 magnitude occurred at 12:08:58 (Atlantic) and the epicentre was located at latitude 45.01 north and longitude 67.23 west - that’s 16 kms southwest of St. Andrews and 20 kms south of St. Stephen.

The magnitude was determined from nine GSC stations and the quake is listed as having been felt in St. Andrews, St. Stephen and Upper Mills.

Glen Crosby, of Heathland, was working on the computer when the earthquake struck, but his wife, Judy, slept through the whole thing.

“It just sounded like the rumble of a distant freight train. I opened the window and then everything started shaking and I realized it was an earthquake,” he said.

This is not the first time Crosby has felt the effects of an earthquake. He said one which occurred in the area in 2003 almost knocked his ladder off the hooks and something fell in their storage shed and another earthquake caused cracks in their basement wall.

“This one rattled the dishes and it was pretty distinct but I didn’t feel the house shaking. It sounded like a freight train about a mile away.”

After it happened, Crosby said he felt he should call someone, so he called the Courier office to leave a message and he called the local radio station. He said a friend who lives up the road also felt the earthquake while another, who was at his camp at Todd’s Point, thought something had blown up at the Bayside quarry.

Mrs. Crosby’s two sisters, who live in Meddybemps, also felt the earthquake, but her husband said his efforts to wake her up to tell her about it failed, so he told her in the morning.

Clarence and Isabel French, who live on South Street extension in St. George, said that they too heard the rumbling of the earthquake, but their house didn’t shake.

Blacks Harbour Fire Chief Dale Shaw Jr. was in the fire hall when he felt the earthquake. He said he had just got off work and had walked over to the fire station to check his emails.

“It sounded like a loaded truck going by and everything shook a little bit. I said that was odd because I didn’t see any trucks go by. I remember looking at the clock and it was 12:09.

“I didn’t think any more about it and then John Craig asked me on Sunday if I had felt the earthquake and I realized that was what it was because I remembered the time.”

It also proved quite an experience for WQDY news director Tom McLaughlin, who was on the air with Classic Hits Rock & Roll Saturday Night when the earthquake shook the station’s building on Main Street in Calais.

“I was on the air and doing my normal request show and was talking to a woman who was calling in a request from Baring. She was on the phone and there was a momentary pause and I heard something like ‘what the heck’ and about the same time she said that, I started feeling this vibration and this loud roar.

“The window facing the parking lot was rattling and then other things in the studio starting vibrating like there was a big truck going by. It sounded like a freight train. The whole building was shaking. It was only a matter of seconds. It was the darndest thing.”

Fortunately, there was no damage, and McLaughlin stayed on the air. While he realized that it was an earthquake, he said he didn’t want to go on the air with that until he had checked. A phone call to the director of the Western Observatory of Boston College confirmed it was a 3.5 magnitude earthquake, and the preliminary epicentre was about three miles northeast of Ayers Junction, in Pembroke, Me., said McLaughlin.

The phone lines at the station just lit up after the quake, he said, and for the next hour or so they were so jammed that he had a hard time calling out.

His first call was to the Calais police, then he called Associated Press to put them on to it, but he said they didn’t know what he was talking about, as it had only just happened.

People reported feeling the earthquake from Baileyville all the way to Pembroke, said McLaughlin, and he also received three or four calls from the St. Stephen area.

“Someone called on a cell phone from a vehicle who said ‘you are not going to believe this but I think we had an earthquake.’ People were just calling up. Everybody seemed to think they were the only ones that felt it.”

McLaughlin said he asked everyone where they were when the earthquake struck and nobody reported anything broken, but spoke about glassware rattling and pictures shifting.

“One woman said she thought her mobile home was going to take off but the tone of the conversations was more curious than frightened. It rattled this place pretty good, but it didn’t damage anything. I went from doing requests to fielding phone calls from all over the place. Being on the air when it happened was kind of a kick.”

When the earthquake hit, McLaughlin said at first he thought a truck might have run into the building so he looked out the window but there was nobody outside.

Karen Avery, who lives in an older home on South Street in St. George, said she was in bed watching television when the earthquake hit.

“All of a sudden I heard a rumble and the house started to shake. I hollered to my son, who was at the computer, and he said it felt like an earthquake. The house really shook. The whole house was vibrating. When I got up Sunday morning, I figure it had to have been an earthquake.”

The last earthquake reported in the Charlotte County area was Oct. 15, 2003. The epicentre of that magnitude 3.1 quake was located at 45.08 north and longitude 66.91 west - 21 km east of St. Stephen.

The earthquake was felt in St. George, St. Stephen, St. Andrews, Caithness and Bocabec and the magnitude was determined from 24 GSC stations.

Dr. Kenneth Burke, of the Department of Geology at UNB, in Fredericton, has researched earthquakes in the Passamaquoddy Bay area going back to the early 1800s.

He said this most recent one was felt as far away as Mactaquac, and there were reports from most of the communities around the bay, including St. Stephen, St. Andrews and St. George.


© 2005 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB