Earthquakes

Recent Earthquakes in Vermont

The USGS earthquake reports show 11 mild earthquakes with epicenters in Vermont between January 1, 2016 and December 7, 2018. A 2.1 magnitude earthquake occurrred at 9:30 am (EST) on December 6, 2018. The earthquake epicenter was reported as 8 km WNW of White River Junction. If you felt the earthquake, you can report it to USGS. A 2.3 magnitude earthquake occurred at 11:34 pm on December 20, 2017 (or in UTC time, December 21 at 4:34 am) and was felt by people in the White River Junction area. Although earthquakes are not common in Vermont, people should be prepared to drop, cover and hold on during a seismic event. View the report at the USGS. A small earthquake was also felt in western Vermont on June 30, 2017 (USGS)

Earthquakes are not common in Vermont, but they do happen here.  Since 1997 the Geological Survey has partnered with DEMHS, UVM, FEMA, Norwich University, NESEC and others to conduct studies and outreach which serve to inform Vermonters and assist with emergency preparedness.  Completed projects include site class, amplification and liquefaction hazard maps, seismic vulnerability of critical facilities, HAZUS damage assessments, and outreach to local government, private engineering firms and the general public. The State Geologist serves as one of the National Earthquake Program Managers. NEIC is the national information center. For preparedness information, visit the Ready Campaign site.

Earthquake FAQS

What is an earthquake? It is sudden shaking of the earth caused by shifting of rock beneath the surface.

Where do earthquakes occur? 98% of earthquakes occur at plate boundaries; in the US, most occur west of the Rocky Mountains.

What are the largest events centered in Vermont?

Largest events centered in Vermont
date time lat (n) long (W) mag. mmi epicenter
04/10/1962 9:30 am 44.11 72.97 4.1 V Middlebury, VT
07/06/1943 5:10 pm 44.84 73.03 4.1 IV Swanton, VT
03/31/1953 7:59 am 43.07 73.00 4.0 V Brandon, VT

What should people do during an earthquake?  "Drop, Cover and Hold On!"
You may notice gentle shaking, swaying of plants, or rattling of windows. Most injuries are caused by flying glass, broken chimneys or fire from ruptured gas lines and downed power lines. There is usually an aftershock.

Town and Quadrangle Seismic Hazard Projects in Vermont:
Seismic site class, amplification and liquefeaction hazard mapping for the Burlington and Colchester VT 7.5 minutes quadrangles, 2011

Seismic hazard for the Burlington and Colchester, Vermont 7 1/2 minute quadrangles, 2013, VGS Open File Report VG13-3

Report on the comparison of shear wave velocities....for the Burlington and Colchester Vermont 7.5 minute quadrangles, 2013, VGTR 13-1

Seismic hazard mapping for Williston, VT, 2013, VGS open File Report VG13-4

Seismic screening and analysis of selected critical facilities in Vermont utilizing two FEMA methodologies (HAZUS and ROVER), 2016, NESEC Report 

Washington County, Vermont Multi-Hazard Analysis, NESEC report, 2018

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