Earthquake Rattles New Hampshire Seacoast

June 5, 2007

New Hampshire’s Emergency Management Agency says a mild earthquake shook the state’s Seacoast area June 2.

Many residents called police to report hearing explosions and authorities were trying to figure out just what happened. They say the blasts might have been underground methane explosions.

There were no reports of injuries.

Emergency Management reports a 1.4 intensity earthquake hit at 10:30 p.m., and was centered about a mile and a half north of Exeter, N.H.

At the same time, and also a couple of hours earlier, police in Portsmouth received numerous calls from residents reporting they had heard explosions.

“Some of the residents reported that the concussions almost knocked off pictures from their walls,” police said in a statement.

No source for the explosions was found after either series of calls.

Then, around 12:45 a.m., Portsmouth police reported finding unusual levels of methane gas escaping from the ground. Crews were digging holes to vent the underground gases.

Police say they don’t know for sure if the explosive sounds were from an earthquake or underground gas explosions or both. They also are looking into whether the possible explosions actually triggered the earthquake monitoring devices.

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