We always think of Buffalo as the Snow Capital of the World, but now we’re getting a new rep.

Buffalo, New York experienced an earthquake on Monday morning at approximately 6:15 EST, and it reminded all of us that earthquakes can happen in Western New York.

But that doesn’t mean it’s common

Although, it looks like it could happen more frequently in the coming years. 

In Western New York, there is a major series of fault lines called the Clarendon-Linden fault system. The faults extend through several counties, including Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, and Allegany. 

Usually, whenever there is seismic activity around Western New York, it can be traced back to the major Clarendon-Linden fault system.  

You could probably guess that California is the worst state for earthquakes, and a big reason behind that is their major fault line system, with the San Andreas Fault causing some of the most notable and catastrophic earthquakes in recent years. 

Small earthquakes are not unheard of in (and around) upstate New York but they are never usually as strong. 

Taking a look at the EarthquakeTracker, these are the last 10 earthquakes we have felt in Western New York: 

  1. Monday, February 6, 2023 – 3.8 magnitude, 2 km depth

    • Epicenter: West Seneca, NY

  2. March 15, 2022 – 2.6 magnitude, 5 km depth

    • Epicenter: Warsaw, NY

  3. February 19, 2022 – 1.8 magnitude, 5 km depth

    • Epicenter: Attica, NY

  4. February 8, 2021 – 1.9 magnitude, 5 km depth

    • Epicenter: Bergen, NY 

  5. November 10, 2020 – 1.5 magnitude, 5 km depth

    • Epicenter: Wilson, NY

  6. May 19, 2020 – 2.3 magnitude, 5 km depth

    • Epicenter: Wanakah, NY 

  7. March 29, 2020 – 2.6 magnitude, 5 km depth

    • Epicenter: Medina, NY 

  8. January 21, 2020 – 1.9 magnitude, 5 km depth

    • Epicenter: Ransomville, NY

  9. September 6, 2017 – 1.9 magnitude, 5 km depth

    • Epicenter: Newfane, NY 

  10. July 11, 2017 – 2.5 magnitude, 5 km depth

    • Epicenter: Olcott, NY 

When it comes to earthquakes of the same caliber, the earthquake that hit on Monday morning clocked in at a 3.8 magnitude, making it the strongest earthquake to ever hit Buffalo. 

There were only two other earthquakes that rippled into Buffalo with a magnitude above 3.0, and those two are: 

  • May 25, 1995 – 3.0 magnitude, 5 km depth

    • Epicenter: Amherst, NY 

  • August 5, 1989 – 3.3 magnitude, 18 km depth

    • Epicenter: St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada 

On average, you may see an earthquake or two in Buffalo, New York in a given year, but they usually don’t have as strong of a magnitude as the one we felt on Monday morning. The year 2020 was an odd one, recording 4 earthquakes in our area, which is above the norm. 

What did you think was happening when you felt the earthquake on Monday?

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