A couple Maine quakes stand out in my mind.

I remember as a child of the 70's, waking up one night to my mother and grandparents up and about in the house, and I could hear a loud rumble coming from somewhere. I asked what was going on and was told we'd had a tiny earthquake. Being 4 or 5 years old, I assumed the worst despite my mom trying to assure me it was no big deal. When you're only point of reference is TV, you assume the worst.

Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash
Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

I also remember a situation in 2002 when one struck Southern Maine. I remember I had a neighbor downstairs who had an uncanny amount of luck with the ladies, and since the building was old, it would often shake a bit as he had his relations with these various women. One morning in particular I was awakened by some serious rocking and rolling, and literally almost went down to complain. I found out later it was an earthquake, haha.

Maine has a lot more quakes than you'd think.

Just the last year or so in Maine, we've had almost 30 earthquakes. But nothing of any real consequence. The strongest so far in 2023 was near the town of Dedham, Maine and it was a 3.3 on the Richter Scale. Compared to say California, where they get some really serious seismic activity, we're just the equivalent of dropping change on the floor.

This is a shot of loose change on the table
Marcus Crockett

But historically speaking, Maine has had some solid rumblers over the years. Maine actually started recording earthquake activity as far back as 1766. Since then, Maine has had over 450 earthquakes. So we cap out at a vigorous 1.7 quakes a year, and we hardly ever see anything over 2.0 on the Richter Scale.

What were some of the strongest?

The strongest known quake in Maine ever, was back in 1904. The rumble that day reached up to 5.9 on the Richter Scale. That's definitely comparable to some of the more average quakes out west. The center of the 1904 quake was Bar Harbor, and felt as far away as parts of Nova Scotia and Connecticut.

Strong team
Konstantin Androsov

More recently, there was a 4.7 quake near the Maine border with New Hampshire and Canada. That one happened in June of 1973 and was felt all the way to eastern New York! There was another quake of similar magnitude in 2006 as well in the same region. Obviously, there's some kind of fault near-ish to the Acadia region.

Wait, what do seagulls have to do with earthquakes?

I'm surprised more people don't use the "seagull method" for predicting quakes along the coast. It's uncannily accurate at times. It seems like the right place to put it to good use.


While they are kind of scary when they happen, we don't have a lot to fear. The kind of quakes we've seen here over the last few centuries have been pretty mild. We're not waiting for a super quake scenario like they could be in Northern California. But just the same, when you're house starts shaking in the middle of the night, it doesn't get you out of bed because it's fun...

So... let's check out the location of 15 of the strongest quakes ever in Maine...

Maine's Biggest Earthquakes

Maine has had some surprisingly powerful earthquakes over the years.

Gallery Credit: Jason Stewart

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