New England sits on a "spiderweb of faults," according to the United States Geological Survey. Does that mean Massachusetts is due for a major earthquake? reported that "Faults in Massachusetts are small compared to those in western states like California, meaning the likelihood of a devastating quake is slim."

Not everyone agrees with that assessment. The Worcester Telegram reported that geologist Robert B. Coyle believes "We're overdue." The Telegram said Coyle thinks it's not a matter of if, but when and how large an earthquake the region will experience."

According to, "Massachusetts is located in a moderate earthquake zone." The site says, "Although these quakes typically cause only insignificant or mild damage, larger earthquakes are possible and could cause serious damage to buildings and infrastructure."

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loading... offers some "simple safety rules" should the ground start shaking.

Fears of "the big one" striking Massachusetts are not without justification. It has happened before.

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The Massachusetts Historical Society says, "At about 4:30 in the morning on 18 November 1775, a strong earthquake rocked the New England area." says, "Observers reported damage to chimneys, brick buildings, and stone walls in coastal communities from Portland, Maine to the south of Boston, Massachusetts."

Is Massachusetts Overdue For A Major Earthquake?
Boston College - Scientists pinpoint the epicenter of the quake in Freetown.

There were reports of damage as far west as Springfield, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut. says the quake "was felt at Halifax, Nova Scotia, to the northeast, Lake Champlain to the northwest, and Winyah, South Carolina, to the southwest.

The earthquake, some 25 miles off Cape Ann, Massachusetts, was the largest ever recorded in New England at 6.0 to 6.3 on the Richter scale.

The Greater New Bedford area has experienced seismic activity in recent years but certainly nothing like what happened in 1775.

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