UPDATE: Earthquake of 5.5 magnitude rattles residents across Ontario and Quebec

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Geological experts on both sides of the border say a "moderate earthquake" has rocked residents of southern Ontario, Quebec and the northeastern United States.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the temblor occurred just before 1:45 ET and was a magnitude 5.5 tremor centred about 60 kilometres north of Ottawa, in western Quebec.
Within minutes of the quake, the Internet came alive with people saying they felt the earth rumble in cities across Ontario and Quebec, including Windsor, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
The quake seemed to last for about 30 seconds in Ottawa and rattled downtown buildings, homes in west-end Ottawa and government offices across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Que.
Witnesses in downtown Toronto also described feeling a prolonged tremor that shook desks, rattled bookshelves and caused paintings on walls to shake.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injury.
Stephen Taylor, a political pundit in Ottawa, used his Twitter feed to describe what the tremors felt like.
"I was in an elevator when the earthquake hit," Taylor wrote. "Debris hitting the top of it, walls scraping ... fun stuff."
The website for the U.S. Geological Survey displayed a map showing a recent event registering 5.5 magnitude had occurred near the Ontario-Quebec boundary.
It was one of the most significant quakes ever measured in the region, according to the organization.
The two largest quakes in western Quebec occurred in 1935 at magnitude 6.1 and in 1732 at a magnitude of 6.2, according to the agency.
It said earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the west, are typically felt over a much broader region.
The survey also said that east of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast.
Hundreds of people were milling about on downtown Ottawa streets as the Parliament buildings emptied, along with the Prime Minister's Office across the street at the Langevin Block.
Buildings across downtown Ottawa were evacuated.
A sitting of the Senate was disturbed, as were preparations by the PMO for this week's G8 and G20 summits. PMO staff were forced out onto Wellington Street.
Conservative Senator Lowell Murray said the massive chandeliers of the upper chamber began swaying during a mundane debate on energy issues.
"Initally we thought it might have been an airplane crashing into the building," Murray said.
"But we were standing around wondering what was going on. And I quickly realized it was an earthquake. And then everybody started shouting out, out, out."
Chinese President Hu Jintao was to arrive in Ottawa later Wednesday afternoon.

Geographic location: Quebec, Ottawa, Ontario Toronto Southern Ontario United States Windsor Montreal Ottawa River Gatineau, Que Rocky Mountains Wellington Street

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  • Justa Though
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Maybe the strain of all the monies thrown at the upcoming summit on the earth's mantle !

  • Justa Though
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Maybe the strain of all the monies thrown at the upcoming summit on the earth's mantle !