Various Towns, PA, NJ Earthquake Shock, Jan 1921

EARTHQUAKE SHOCK NEAR PHILADELPHIA.

TRENTON, CAMDEN AND NEARBY POINTS REPORT TREMORS AND DAMAGE IN SEVERAL PLACES.

RUMOR OF BIG EXPLOSION.

BUT INQUIRY FAILS TO REVEAL ANY SUCH MISHAP -- HOUSES UNSAFE, CHIMNEYS THROWN DOWN.

Philadelphia, Jan. 26. -- A severe earth shock was felt tonight in Southern New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. Belief that it had been caused by an explosion caused inquiries to be made at every known explosive plant within a radius of fifty miles, but no evidence was forthcoming to substantiate the explosion theory.
Despite this fact, Professor JOHN A. MILLER, in charge of the seismograph at Swarthmore College, insisted that the disturbance could not have been an earthquake, as the instruments in the Swarthmore observatory had failed to register it. He maintained that it must have been due to an explosion.
Virtually every town near Philadelphia felt the shock, which was reported to have been of several seconds' duration, accompanied by a loud rumbling such as trucks make in passing over cobblestone pavements.
Pictures and earthenware tumbled from the walls of the Merion Community House. Other reports came from Trenton, Vincentown, Pemberton, Gloucester and Camden, N. J., all of which felt the shock, although it was not felt in Hammonton and other towns further inland. Wilmington, Del., also was unaware of it until inquiries began to pour in from other cities asking if there had been an explosion.
Shortly after the occurrence, which took place at 6:45 P.M., a deluge of telephone calls came inito the Philadelphia newspaper offices and the police stations. The Weather Bureau alone handled more than 100 calls within an hour, but was unable to furnish any information.
From Trenton, N. J., came the report that the shock was particularly violent in the vicinity of Riverside and Riverton, lasting several seconds and causing the townspeople to become badly frightened.

Trenton, N. J., Jan. 26. -- A violent earth shock was felt early tonight in the vicinity of Riverside and Riverton, where many buildings were badly shaken. The shock lasted several seconds and caused residents to flee in terror. The power plant of the Public Service Corporation in Riverside was shaken and employes badly frightened. Officials of the corporation immediately got in touch with all the power plants from Tullytown, Pa., to Carney's Point to learn if there had been an explosion, but none was reported.

Camden, N. J., Jan. 26. -- The whole South Jersey section was shaken at 6:45 o'clock tonight by what is believed to have been an explosion. Chimneys were knocked from houses in Camden, Merchantville and Moorestown. No one was injured.
Th explosion, or what was said to have been one, was plainly felt in Camden and Burlington County. The police say that the City Hall in Camden was shaken and that they felt the tremor.
A number of windows were broken in houses in Camden and similar damage is reported from Mount Holly, Riverside, Burlington, Edgewater Park, Moorestown, Merchantville, Gloucester, Riverton and Delanco.
All attempts to find where the explosion took place, if this was the cause of the disturbance, have proved unavailing. The explosion was reported in half a dozen different places, but investigation proved that these were groundless. Others circulated here said that it was not an explosion, but an earthquake tremor.

The New York Times New York 1921-01-27