The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

4.8-Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Poly Prep


Though it is relatively “rare to feel earthquakes in the U.S. Northeast ” according to the Scientific American, a 4.8 magnitude earthquake was felt on April 5 within the New York City metropolitan area and across areas such as Philadelphia, Maryland, and Boston. New Yorkers and Poly students in particular, who typically do not experience significant seismic events or activity, raised questions and concerns. 

“I thought it was Middle Schoolers running around upstairs,” said senior Ava Rosario.

“I was in string ensemble on the second floor practicing for the concert. We thought it was middle schoolers running in the hallway so we kept playing. Afterwards, our teacher told us it was an earthquake and we were very surprised,” said senior Jasmine Grant-Phillips. 

The earthquake did have a preliminary magnitude of 4.0 and was located near Gladstone, N.J., according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), an agency of the United States government whose work spans the disciplines of biology, geography, geology, and hydrology. Seismologists refer to the largest earthquake event in an area as a mainshock, which was recorded at 4.8 magnitude.

Head of Operations Matt Stelluto and Director of Security Sal Bonaventura sent out an email to families and students notifying them of the magnitude 4.8 earthquake in Tewksbury, NJ that was subsequently felt throughout the tri-state area. “Please know that our students are safe. At this time there is no need to evacuate buildings. If there is an emergency, we will communicate with families by text and email,” the email read, assuring the community that School Operations and Safety and Security had been monitoring the situation closely throughout the remainder of the day. 


According to the New York Times, “The U.S.G.S. has logged 188 earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.5 or greater within a 250-mile radius of New York City since 1957. In that timeframe, only seven have had a magnitude at or above 4.5.” The earthquake on the 5th presented the third-highest recorded magnitude “around the New York metropolitan region in nearly 75 years” according to CNBC News. Since 1950, as per the United States Geological Survey, 40 other earthquakes of magnitude 3 and larger have occurred within 250 km of the April 5 earthquake, which in that time range is the largest. While tremors were felt for more than 30 seconds and there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, the earthquake did in fact trigger “numerous delays and temporary closures of transportation infrastructure in the area.” 

Earthquakes occur as a result of the movement of parts of the Earth’s crust, particularly the outermost layer. As explained by the USGS, when the Earth’s tectonic plates slide past and bump into each other, the rough edges of the plates (known as plate boundaries) can get stuck while the rest of the plate keeps moving. “Finally, when the plate has moved far enough, the edges unstick on one of the faults and there is an earthquake,” the USGS notes. 

The earthquake that occurred across the East Coast on April 5, according to the USGS, occurred as a result of “oblique reverse and strike-slip faulting at shallow depths in the crust” ; though the earthquake did not occur near a plate boundary, intraplate earthquakes (which occur in the interior of a tectonic plate), are possible. “While this earthquake is relatively small globally, earthquakes of this magnitude are commonly widely felt in the eastern United States because of efficient seismic wave propagation in the region,” states the USGS. The April 5 earthquake did occur in a region where faults have been previously identified and may be reactivated at any time, and its epicenter was near Whitehouse Station, N.J., about 40 miles west of New York City. The depth of the bedrock rupture was estimated to be at 2.9 miles.

Despite not presenting significant damage, the earthquake did impact some air and train travel according to CNN. “Buildings are also older in the Northeast and may not be designed to the latest earthquake code”, as stated by the USGS. “This is particularly a concern for shorter buildings like houses. Earthquakes tend to shake in a faster back-and-forth motion in the East compared to the West, which puts smaller buildings more at risk for damage, the USGS noted.

Aftershocks of the earthquake and physical effects in East Coast residents were also documented by the USGS. In addition to the physical tremors, according to the New York Times, “People can experience anxiety, sleep problems and other health issues in the hours and days after a quake.” 


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Jordan Millar
Jordan Millar, Editor-in-Chief

Jordan Millar is the current Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Polygon and a senior. She began writing for the Polygon during her freshman year as a staff writer, served as the News Editor during her sophomore year, and the Co-Managing Editor during her junior year. Her favorite pieces to write are in-depth news stories and profiles. Outside of the Polygon, Jordan works as a professional composer and writes music for numerous top orchestras and ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, Little Orchestra Society, New World Symphony, and more; she has been composing since she was nine and participates in several music composition programs across the city. When she’s not writing articles or composing music, Jordan enjoys drawing, reading, and shopping! 

Comments (0)

All The Polygon: The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *