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Magnitude 2 quake shakes Williamsburg, Leeds area

A loud boom that shook homes in Williamsburg, Leeds and Florence — and knocked a clock off the wall of a polling place — early Tuesday morning was a magnitude 2.0 earthquake, according to the Weston Observatory outside Boston.

“It sounded like it was right under the house,” said Rosalie Peri of Main Street in Haydenville. She was among numerous residents who heard the boom, but didn’t suspect it was an earthquake. Several people shared their reactions while at the polls at Ann T. Dunphy School Tuesday morning.

Rosalie’s husband, Oded Peri, said he ran down to check the basement but found nothing out of place.

Other residents in the area heard the noise as well and thought it was a construction-related explosion or an auto accident.

“I live on South Street and I thought it was a huge truck accident,” Kate Stenson said. “Immediately after that someone that lives in town posted on Facebook that they heard what sounded like dynamite going off. Shortly thereafter other posters from the Petticoat Hill area and Florence started reporting the same kind of thing,” Stenson said.

Williamsburg Fire Chief Don Lawton said that he had a couple of calls from concerned residents around 7:30 a.m. According to Lawton, fire departments in surrounding towns received calls as well.

“We checked the area, the department in Northampton checked, and we all found nothing,” Lawton said. No injuries or damage have been reported, he said.

The quake was located “approximately 5 kilometers north-northwest of Northampton,” said Weston Observatory graduate research assistant Justin Starr, and took place at 7:25 a.m. That would locate the quake at the southern edge of Williamsburg.

“This was a magnitude 2 earthquake so it was a little bit bigger than the 1.3 magnitude earthquake that was felt in your area in January,” he said.

Williamsburg Town Clerk Brenda Lessard, the earthquake knocked the clock off the wall in the gymnasium of the Anne T. Dunphy School, where residents were going to vote.

“We had a lot of voters in here at that time,” Lessard said. “It was standing-room only starting at 7 a.m.”

The Weston Observatory is a geophysical research laboratory of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College.

The Observatory houses seismic instruments for the World-Wide Standardized Seismic Network and for the New England Seismic Network. The observatory’s staff monitors the Northeast for seismic activity and disseminates information pertinent to any events that are recorded.

According to the New England Seismic Network, a 1.4 magnitude earthquake struck Westport, Conn., on Oct. 4, and a 1.6 magnitude quake was recorded near Ramsey, N.J., on Oct. 5.

A magnitude 2.0 earthquake struck Ringwood, N.J., about 1:20 a.m. Monday. The Associated Press reported there were no injuries or damage.

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