SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Early Sunday morning, shortly after midnight a 2.0 magnitude earthquake struck Bliss Corner, Massachusetts not far from the 3.6 magnitude earthquake that occurred just a few weeks ago.

New England is situated right in the middle of a tectonic plate that stretches from California to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The North American Plate is moving and drifting westward at a very slow pace. This drifting causes internal pressures within the Earth's crust, which ultimately must be released.

The result of some of that is minor earthquakes that are sometimes felt in New England.

"They're pretty common. I mean a couple on average, two or three small earthquakes per year in the New England region, and then every few decades or so we'll have one that's much larger, that we'll feel,” State Geologist for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Steve Mabee said.

The release of this stress can sometimes transfer to nearby faults. Minor readjustments occur days to weeks after the main event as the crust resettles. It's believed that the earthquake today was an aftershock that may have been triggered by the 3.6 that occurred several weeks ago.

While earthquakes locally tend to be felt on a smaller scale due to our rigid crystalline crust, major events can and have occurred in New England. In 2016, Bar Harbor, Maine had a 4.0. There was also a 4.6 in Lake Arrowhead, Maine in 2012. In 1982, a 4.7 struck Laconia, New Hampshire.

Damage typically occurs with 5.0's and above. Two of the largest known local events were more than 6.0 on the Richter scale. In 1755, an estimated 6.0 occurred in Cape Ann, Massachusetts, and in 1638 in either Vermont or New Hampshire, there was an estimated 6.5 in magnitude.

On if we should expect an increase in frequency or intensity of these events moving forward, Dr. Mabee said, “I don't think so, that would be my guess. I mean history certainly, uh, tells us that that's probably the case."

Dr. Mabee went on to say that it is unlikely that these events are a precursor to any further near-future events. The magnitudes that are typically experienced locally tend not to be damaging in nature.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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