PROVIDENCE — Three earthquakes struck off the southeast coast of Rhode Island over the weekend, including one that could be felt in northwest Providence.
The first magnitude 2.2 quake was reported at 4:42 a.m. Saturday, approximately 18 miles south-southeast of Narragansett Pier in the Atlantic Ocean. At 10:15 p.m., there was a 2.5 aftershock in the same area, according to the US Geological Survey, followed by a 2.2 aftershock near New Shoreham at 2:40 a.m. Sunday. The second temblor had a weak intensity rating of III, but was felt in northwest Providence, the USGS reports.
There were a total of 20 responses and no damage reports.
The first two quakes occurred about 3.2 miles underground, while the last was at a depth of 1.3 miles.
Earthquakes are not uncommon along a fault line that runs along Narragansett Pier. There have been 34 reported temblors from 1766 to 2016, the Northeast States Emergency Consortium, a nonprofit all-hazards emergency management group based in Wakefield, Mass., reports.
The NESEC says that the strongest earthquake in the area happened in 1638 and was felt throughout the New England Colonies. The quake was reported by Roger Williams, who wrote that the ground shaking was minor. He reported a conversation with the local Native Americans who said previous earthquakes took place in the 1500s.
Earthquakes in New England occur on faults within bedrock, usually miles deep, the USGS website said. Most of New England’s and Long Island’s bedrock was assembled as continents collided to form a supercontinent 500 million to 300 million years ago, raising the northern Appalachian Mountains.
Rhode Island has never reported a damaging earthquake.