Two earthquakes struck northwest of Ottawa this morning, rattling residents of the Capital Region, and were apparently felt as far away as Toronto, Detroit and parts of Ohio.
The first quake hit at 9:43 a.m. ET about 70 km northwest of Ottawa, and was originally recorded at magnitude 5.1 by Earthquakes Canada. It was later upgraded to magnitude 5.2.
Just 10 minutes later, this quake was followed by an aftershock measuring a magnitude of 4.1, and there have been three more aftershocks since, of magnitudes 2.1, 2.2 and 3.2.
For some residents of Shawville, Quebec, just 18 km southwest of the earthquake epicenter, a quake wasn't the first thing that came to mind when everything started shaking.
"It was like a massive explosion that went off it just started shaking and the walls of the bakery were moving," said Dan Duggan, owner of the Pontiac Home Bakery in Shawville, according to CBC News.
"I thought it was my propane tanks exploding. We were evacuating employees out of the building. It lasted for about 25 seconds and it went on for about another minute," he told CBC. "I've lived through earthquakes before, but never anything like that."
Twitter lit up after the first quake, with people saying they felt throughout southern Quebec, southern Ontario as far away as Toronto, Barrie, southern Michigan and Ohio.
— Mila Araujo(@Milaspage) May 17, 2013
Anyone else feeling another earth quake in Toronto??
— Erin MacDonald (@emacyyz) May 17, 2013
People from Detroit, Dearborn - even in Columbiaville say they felt the #Earthquake. Did you?
— Lisa Giles Ray (@Lisa4News) May 17, 2013
“It was obviously widely felt if it reached Toronto,” said John Adams, a seismologist with Earthquakes Canada, according to the Toronto Star.
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Although earthquakes of this magnitude aren't very common in the area, smaller tremors happen quite often. Just in the past month, there have been over a dozen recorded quakes, ranging from the lowest magnitudes up through 5.2.
The region around eastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec is known as the Western Quebec Seismic Zone (WQSZ), and it has a history of earthquakes and tremors. The strongest quake recorded in the area was on November 1st, 1935, when a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck near Timiskaming, Quebec, and there have been three other quakes of magntide 5.0 or greater — in Montreal in 1732, near Cornwall in 1944 and near Mont-Laurier in 1990.
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