UPDATE: Powerful 4.0 aftershock felt Friday afternoon

A 4.8-magnitude earthquake in New Jersey on Friday morning could be felt from Philadelphia to New York City and beyond.

That's a "light" earthquake, according to experts. But our region's lack of history with quakes was the reason for a wider ring of impact than you'd see during an earthquake of the same size on the West Coast.

"On the East Coast of the U.S., our crust ... is stronger," said Shannon Graham, assistant professor in the physics department at The College of New Jersey. "It's not as fractured as it is in California."

Seismic waves on the West Coast, where earthquakes aren't as rare as they are here, dissipate faster. Here, the waves can travel further and be felt by more people.

Earthquake damage to a historic mill in Readington. (6ABC Action News)
Earthquake damage to a historic mill in Readington. (6ABC Action News)

The U.S. Geological Survey puts the epicenter of the region's earthquake in the area of Tewksbury, Hunterdon County. It's one of the most powerful quakes ever centered in the Garden State.

"People may have seen or felt objects inside houses and outside shake or fall down, but the estimate of economic loss is very minimal," said Lauren Nietzke Adamo, a geoscientist at Rutgers University—New Brunswick.

According to the USGS, aftershocks from the quake could occur for the next week. As of 3:30 p.m. Friday, a handful of aftershocks had already been recorded in the state.

Whitehouse Station Fire Chief Tim Apgar said no injuries were reported, but responders fielded some calls from people who smelled gas.

Nearby, the upper portion of the 264-year-old Col. John Taylor’s Grist Mill historic site collapsed onto a roadway, according to Readington Township Mayor Adam Mueller.

In Morris County, government offices were closed early after a fear about a gas leak in the building.

Nearly 30 people were displaced when officials evacuated three multifamily homes in Newark, New Jersey, to check for damage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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