City

Seismograms from East Harlem building collapse

At around 9:30 a.m. this morning, two buildings on 116th Street and Park Avenue collapsed after a gas leak caused an explosion in the building. According to the New York Times, the collapse killed two people, and 12 more are missing. As of 3 p.m., the fire is still burning, and the block remains saturated with emergency crews.

The collapse was picked up by earthquake seismometers throughout the region, including Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, near Nyack, New York.

According to an email from research professor Won-Young Kim—who heads the Lamond-Doherty Cooperative Seismographic Network, which monitors earthquakes in the Northeastern U.S.—a station in Central Park picked up a weak seismic signal at 9:30:44 a.m., followed by a stronger one a millisecond later at 9:30:45 a.m. A station at Fordham University in the Bronx also picked up a signal at 9:30:47 a.m.

Based on these times, the network estimates the collapse occurred at 9:30:42 (±1.5 seconds).

This is what the collapse looked like (CPNY is the Central Park station, FOR is the Fordham station):

Courtesy of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Courtesy of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

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