When most people think of New York, they conjure up images of towering skyscrapers, bustling streets, or massive mountain ranges. However, beneath it all lies a lesser-known fact – New York State is not immune to earthquakes.

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While the frequency and magnitude of earthquakes in New York might not compare to seismic hotspots like California, there are areas within the state that have experienced significant tremors over the years.

Between 1737 and 2016, New York experienced a total of 551 earthquakes, as reported by the Northeast States Emergency Consortium (NESEC). While this number might seem relatively modest considering the near 300-year timespan, it surpasses the earthquake activity in many other northeastern states. For instance, Vermont, during a comparable timeframe, recorded only around 50 earthquakes.

Despite this, earthquakes are not considered common occurrences in New York. The state typically experiences minor tremors rather than large, destructive quakes. However, when it comes to the possibility of a significant earthquake, one location stands out in the state: New York City.

New York City's likelihood of experiencing a major earthquake surpasses any other area in the state. This risk is primarily due to the presence of six fault lines in or around the city, including one that runs directly through Central Park in Manhattan.

According to Verisk, a risk assessment company, New York City is prone to a magnitude 5 earthquake approximately every 100 years. While minor tremors may occasionally be felt in the city, a major earthquake of such magnitude has not struck NYC in over a century.

With that said, New York City is not the only area in the state susceptible to earthquakes. The Northern Adirondacks and Western New York also experience earthquake activity, although to a lesser extent. These regions have seen significant quakes in the past, causing varying degrees of damage and disruption.

If you’re concerned about the possibility of an earthquake, the NESEC provides information and resources to help with earthquake preparedness, and their data and research contribute to a better understanding of New York's earthquake potential.

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