A weak earthquake rattled Berks County Friday afternoon, sending shockwaves through the region and overwhelming 911 operators responding to reports about the mild quake.
Still, some residents reported hearing a loud boom and feeling the earth shake.
“I thought a house had exploded near me,” said Ben Rusnak of West Lawn. In addition to the boom, Rusnak said he felt his house shake for about one second before he ran to the window and then outside.
“My neighbors came out of their houses, too. Everybody was like, 'You felt that, too?" he said. ”I’ve never felt an earthquake before ... I seriously thought my neighbor’s house had exploded."
During an earthquake, the Department of Homeland Security recommends dropping to the floor and seeking cover, away from windows.
Many across Berks County dialed 911 about the quake, prompting the county’s Department of Emergency Services to post a plea to Facebook.
“PLEASE DO NOT call 911 if you do not have an emergency to report,” the agency wrote. “We are overwhelmed with callers reporting nothing apart from hearing a loud noise and this prevents callers with real emergencies from getting through.”
As of late Friday afternoon, no damage or injuries had been reported in the area, Sinking Spring Police said.
Though disarming, a quake isn’t completely out of the ordinary for the eastern Pennsylvania area, according to USGS.
“Since colonial times, people in the Lancaster seismic zone of southeastern Pennsylvania have felt small earthquakes and suffered damage from larger ones,” the agency notes on its website. “Earthquakes are felt once or twice per decade, with some decades having none and the 1990s having as many as six.”
Last month, a 3.4 magnitude earthquake shook parts of Juniata County in central Pennsylvania, followed by a short aftershock, USGS reported.
In 2017, a rare, 4.1 magnitude earthquake that originated in Delaware rumbled under the East Coast, with shockwaves felt around Philadelphia and South Jersey, and reaching as far as Washington and New York.