PORTLAND, Maine (CBS SF) — A magnitude 4.0 earthquake hit southern Maine Tuesday night and rattled other nearby New England states – including the Boston, Massachusetts area – but caused no injuries or significant damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially estimated the quake at a 4.6 magnitude, but later downgraded that to 4.0; it said the epicenter was about 20 miles west of Portland.

While a quake of that magnitude may not seem all that important by California standards, experts at the USGS said the New England region’s geology can make the effects felt in an area up to 10 times larger than quakes of similar size on the West Coast.

More Maine Quake Coverage From CBS Boston
CBS San Francisco’s Special Earthquakes Section

Barbara Reigelhaupt, an earthquake veteran who lived in California but recently moved to Portland, compared the Maine quake to one she recalled feeling in Santa Monica some years ago.

“I feel like we experienced a similar kind of significant shaking here, but we did not immediately think of it as an earthquake,” she told the Los Angeles Times newspaper. “My first thought was, we’ve been in this apartment for two weeks; is something going on in this apartment? Because this is Maine, and we don’t have earthquakes.”

Earthquakes are rare in New England but they’re not unheard of.

Monitoring the quake activity from San Francisco, CBS 5 chief meteorologist Paul Deanno said that Tuesday night’s tremor appeared to be one of the more powerful in Maine on record.

“The strongest quake to hit the state was a 5.1 magnitude back in 1904,” Deanno noted.

Associated Press archives indicated that the 1904 quake was centered near Maine’s eastern border with Canada, damaged chimneys and brick walls and could also be felt in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

(Copyright 2012 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)


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