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A small earthquake hit central New Jersey late Monday night, according to seismologists. No one was reported to have been injured.
Residents likened the earthquake, which struck just after 10:30 p.m., to everything from “a bomb” to an underground explosion to “a thump.”
The epicenter of the quake, which had a preliminary magnitude of 3.0, was reported at Victory Gardens, although it could be felt in Rockaway, Dover and Morris Plains, according to Won-Young Kim, a seismologist for the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y.
While 3.0 is a rather large earthquake for the metropolitan New York region, a temblor of that magnitude is unlikely to cause any major damage, Mr. Kim said.
Workers at an Exxon Station in Rockaway, N.J., said that the night was going along normally when the earthquake struck.
“It was like a bomb, a strong one,” said Cafer Sahin, 40, an attendant.
Tom Smaga, 27, was working inside the station when, he said, he first heard and then felt the earthquake.
“It was a loud boom and after that it shook the whole building,” Mr. Smaga said. He said the vibrations lasted for about two or three seconds.
Toni Dellamonica, a dispatcher for the Rockaway Township Police Department, said that there had been no reports of injuries or major damage.
Ms. Dellamonica said the earthquake felt like “a rolling rumble,” as if someone was dragging something across the ground.
In Dover, N.J., near the quake’s epicenter, Francis Rodriguez was playing cards with a friend when, she said, “it felt like something exploded underground.”
The shaking did not damage her house, she said, but her friend, Cheryll Post, who was visiting Ms. Rodriguez, said “it was very scary.” Patricia Avila, was in her second-floor apartment in Rockaway, N.J., when she felt what she described as “a loud thump.”
“It was just a bang,” Walter Michalski, a police officer in Dover, N.J., said of Monday’s earthquake. “That’s it. A bang.”
Peter Johnson, a dispatcher for the Morris Plains Police department, said “I wasn’t sure what it was. It was just a shaking.”
Mr. Kim of Lamont-Doherty said that low-level earthquakes are not unusual near that area.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 2 hit Phillipsburg, N.J., on July 28. A 2.6 magnitude quake struck Sussex County, N.J., on Feb. 17, 2006, and another quake, with a magnitude of 2.1, hit Morris County on Dec. 10, 2005.Nate Schweber contributed reporting.