3.6 mag earthquake rocks New England, US

Mark Pratt
·1-min read

The strongest earthquake to hit southern New England in decades has rattled homes and nerves , but didn't cause any significant damage, authorities say.

The 3.6 magnitude earthquake centred off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts, in Buzzards Bay struck just after 9am on Sunday, according to the US Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center.

The earthquake hit at a depth of a little more than 15km and was felt across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and into Connecticut and Long Island, New York.

It was the strongest earthquake in the area since a magnitude 3.5 tremor hit in March 1976.

About 14,000 people went to the agency's website to report the earthquake, including people from Easthampton, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut, both about 160km away, and several from more than 80km away in Boston.

The Red Cross tweeted that it was helping 21 people, including children, who had been displaced from their New Bedford homes.

There were other reports of minor damage.

Police in Fall River tweeted that they received numerous phone calls about the quake, including reports of items falling off of shelves, and street signs getting uprooted.