Earthquake triggers infrastructure inspections & chances to learn

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 5:38 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOWN OF ADAMS, New York (WWNY) - The effects of Sunday’s earthquake near Adams Center continue to ripple through the north country. Some people are making sure our roads and bridges are safe while others are using the quake to learn.

Green Settlement Road in the town of Adams had no recorded earthquakes up until 10 days ago when a magnitude 2.6 rattled the area.

Then there was Sunday’s 3.6 magnitude quake. Add in the aftershocks, and 11 earthquakes have originated there in the last 10 days.

Within 30 minutes of the Sunday quake, state Department of Transportation crews sprung into action to inspect each bridge within 40 miles of the epicenter.

“3.5 is the threshold. Anything over 3.5 or higher requires action,” said Michael Flick, DOT spokesperson. “We’re gonna be busy for a while, but we’ve had no reports of damage. Based on our inspections so far, there’s been no evidence of any damage to the bridges.”

Meanwhile, New York Power Authority dams won’t need to be inspected because the intensity of the earthquake around Massena didn’t register stronger than a 3.5.

“The location of the earthquake, near Watertown, was far enough away (approximately 80 miles) that it did not trigger any additional inspections at NYPA’s St. Lawrence-FDR Power dam in Massena,” said a NYPA spokesperson in an email.

An inspection of the Thousand Islands Bridge yielded no issues according to the T.I. Bridge Authority.

“Though it was not felt by staff on-site that day working, the Authority followed its procedures in place as it relates to earthquakes. In consultation with our engineers, our staff performed an inspection of the key locations on the bridges and determined that no damage occurred to the structures, and they are safe for passage by the general public,” the authority wrote in an email.

From inspecting infrastructure to reading a seismograph, Sunday’s quake is providing a unique learning experience at Carthage Central School.

“It’s not very common for us to get an earthquake this close,” said teacher Zach Miller.

He taught his earth science students on Monday about collecting data from an earthquake using the seismograph.

“Typically in our area, we don’t feel earthquakes. So, it’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing for some of these students to be able to feel the earthquake,” he said.

“I think it’s a really great opportunity to learn with the things that we have because in many places there are as many opportunities to do that,” said student Madison Williams.

Sunday’s 3.6 quake is the second strongest in recorded history for the tri-county region. Massena saw a 5.7 quake centered east of Massena in 1944.

While epicenters aren’t usually in southern Jefferson County, the north country region has had its fair share of earthquakes.

“Historically, we’ve had a lot earthquakes in that area. Since 1970 there’s been approximately 79 earthquakes larger than magnitude 2.5 in that area,” said Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

There’s no telling if the quakes are done with 11 earthquakes in the past 10 days centered around Green Settlement Road.