3.7 magnitude earthquake hits area near Petit-Rocher

A 3.7 magnitude earthquake rattled parts of northern New Brunswick this morning, Earthquakes Canada says.

The national agency said the earthquake hit shortly before 10 a.m., about 16 kilometres west of Petit-Rocher.

An aftershock with a 3.4 magnitude occurred shortly before 1 p.m., and a 2.5-magnitude aftershock happened minutes later.

Guylaine Haché was watching morning television at her home in Nigadoo, about five kilometres south of Petit Rocher, when she heard a big bang outside her home.

At first, she thought it might be a thunderstorm. 

"The noise was very weird," she said. "It wasn't thunder, [it was] like a truck."

Earthquakes Canada said the quake would have been felt throughout Gloucester and Restigouche counties.

"There are no reports of damage, and none would be expected."

Claire Perry, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, said light shaking from the earthquake lasted a few seconds in the area.

She said earthquakes below a magnitude five see very little damage.

"This is quite a small event," she said. "People do feel these events but there wouldn't be any damage associated with them generally." 

There are between one and two magnitude three or above earthquakes in the area each year.

"Depending on where the earthquake occurs, we'll have either a few or quite a number of felt reports," she said.

She said this was an intraplate earthquake, which occurs inside a tectonic plate, instead of an interplate earthquake, which happens at the edges of a tectonic plate.

Although Earthquakes Canada can't forecast when an earthquake will strike, Perry said earthquakes could continue to hit the area.

Suggests earthquake kit

People should be prepared for any future events, she said.

"Fixing any types of heavy furniture or mirrors on wall — make sure they're well attached to the walls, so that if stronger shaking did occur, things wouldn't be falling," she said.

Residents could also prepare an earthquake safety kit that would include water, food, medication, flashlights. 

The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization said on Twitter that it's aware of the earthquake and is monitoring the situation. 

'Somebody hit my house'

Haché said her Nigadoo house didn't sustain any damage but it did shake a bit. 

The shaking lasted about seven seconds. 

"I thought somebody hit my house," she said.

Earthquakes, while rarely severe in New Brunswick, aren't unheard of. 

In January, a 3.8 magnitude earthquake hit an area near Grand Bay-Westfield. And in March, Earthquakes Canada said a 3.0 magnitude earthquake hit an area 23 kilometres west of Miramichi.

Earthquakes Canada

In the spring of 2018, Earthquakes Canada recorded a "swarm" of 22 minor quakes on the western edge of the province near McAdam, a village also rattled by a 3.3 magnitude earthquake in 2016.

In November 2016, a magnitude 3.1 earthquake was recorded 23 kilometres west-northwest of Miramichi.

The last major earthquake, a magnitude five, rattled the Miramichi area in the 1980s, the largest earthquake to have affected the Maritimes since 1929.

Perry is asking anyone who felt Monday's earthquake to report it to the Earthquakes Canada website.