At approximately 1:45pm EDT, a 5.0 magnitude earthquake erupted some 12 miles below the Earth’s surface in an area near the border between Ontario and Quebec in Canada. Tremors were most significant in Toronto and Ottawa. But the effects were felt wide and far. Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey all felt the earthquake. As far south as West Virginia and north through Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. The earthquake lasted for roughly 30 seconds causing little damage but many concerns. The Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa was evacuated, as were many buildings in downtown Toronto. Even I felt it here in Detroit!

Earthquakes in this region are not uncommon and usually mild. They are felt over vast areas due to a geological formation known as the Canadian Shield, a massive layer of rock left over from the advance of glaciers during the Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago. One geologist describes the entire Northeast as being like a single sheet of plywood. Hit it solidly anywhere and the whole sheet vibrates from it.

The last major earthquake in this particular area of Canada was in 1935 when a 6.1 magnitude quake rocked western Quebec. The area typically has three to four quakes per year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Today’s earthquake in Quebec was only 5.0 on the Richter scale, yet due to conditions, was felt from Chicago to Maine. The earthquake comes just days before the beginning of the G20 Summit in Toronto, Canada.