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Just because you didn’t feel anything doesn’t mean the earth didn’t shake.

New England experiences several earthquakes every year, but most people don’t notice them if the magnitude is below 2.0.

The US Geological Survey reported a magnitude-2.0 earthquake Nov. 28 near Berlin, N.H. However, local police said they had not heard of any disturbance in the area.

“Magnitude 2.0 is roughly the threshold for people feeling an earthquake,” said Alan Kafka, director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory. “This one was in a relatively unpopulated area, but if a magnitude-2.0 earthquake happened near Boston, we would get a lot of calls about it.”


New England averages about six earthquakes a year, and most of them cause no damage. Generally, earthquakes can cause significant damage when they hit magnitude 5.0.

The strongest known earthquake to hit New England was in 1638.

Researchers are uncertain of the earthquake’s exact location or how strong it was, but believe it was centered somewhere in New Hampshire or Vermont and had a magnitude of about 6.5.

Kafka said the most catastrophic earthquake to hit the region was a magnitude-6.0 quake off of Cape Ann in 1755.

“It was quite damaging and felt all over the northeastern United States,” Kafka said. “One point of interest here is the earthquake caused considerable damage in Boston, knocking down and damaging 1,600 chimneys and collapsing brick walls on several buildings.”

More recently, a magnitude-4.0 earthquake shook southern Maine in 2012 and was felt throughout New England. Kafka said it didn’t cause any major damage, but was widely felt in the Boston area.

The Globe reported in 2012 that while the quake didn’t cause any damage, residents were rattled from the tremors. A Jamaica Plain resident said her stove shook and her cat was so spooked, it ran away.


Olivia Quintana can be reached at olivia-.quintana@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @oliviasquintana.