The Charlevoix earthquake of October 17, 1860

The description that follows is taken verbatim from:

Smith, W E T, 1962. Earthquakes of eastern Canada and Adjacent areas 1534-1927, Publications of the Dominion Observatory vol. 26, no. 5.

1860 OCTOBER 17. 6:15 a.m. VIII-IX. 47.5N, 70.1W

(b). In the St. Lawrence River north of the mouth of Rivière Ouelle. Chimneys thrown down and walls damaged. The earthquake was felt from Hamilton, Ont., in the west, to New Brunswick in the east, and southward in the United States as far as Newark, N.J. over an area of 700,000 square miles. A7, A8, B4, B5, D2, D4, H9, H10, H11, K1, L1, M3, M7

"The buildings situated on each side of our river (Rivière Ouelle) suffered in a general way. One chimney on the home of E. Chas. Tetu, two on the home of M. C. Casgrain, one on the home of M. Frenette, one on the home of Auguste Casgrain, one on the home of Madam Frs. Casgrain and on the homes of a dozen other persons were thrown down. The cross of our church and the weathervane surmounting it are now on the ground; the walls of our fine church are cracked. The shocks were frightening; the first, the most violent, began at 6:15 and lasted four minutes and forty seconds, very violent for ten seconds and gradually weakening; a weaker shock at 6:20 lasted three or four seconds, and the third began at 6:30 and lasted two or three seconds; but like the first it was a staccato jolting that made the furniture dance and unhooked pictures, clocks, etc." D2 quoting from a Quebec newspaper.


  • A7 ANONYMOUS, 1907. Earthquakes in New England: Mag. Hist., v. 5, No. 1, 54-57.
  • A8 ANONYMOUS, 1925. Le dernier tremblement de terre: Soc. Géog. Qué. Bull., v. 19, 110-113
  • B4 BRIGHAM, W. T., 1871. Historical notes on the earthquakes of New England 1638-1869: Reprinted from Boston Soc. Natural Hist. Mem., v. 2.
  • B5 BROOKS, J. E., S.J., 1960. A study in seismicity and structural geology. Part II-Earthquakes of northeastern United States and eastern Canada: Obs. Géophys. Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, Bull.Géophys., No. 7, 12-40.
  • D2 DAWSON, Sir J. W., 1860. Notes on the earthquake of October 1860: Can. Natural Geol., old ser., v. 5, 363-372.
  • D4 DAWSON, Sir J. W., 1870. The earthquake of October 20th 1870: Can. Natural Geol., new ser., v. 5, 282-289.
  • H9 HODGSON, E. A., 1937. Earthquakes in eastern Canada and adjacent areas: Roy. Can. Inst. Proc., ser. 3A, v. 2, 30-35.
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  • H11 HODGSON, E. A., 1950. The Saint Lawrence earthquake, March 1,1925: Dom. Obs. Pub., Ottawa, v. 7, No. 10, 361-436. This is the final account of the earthquake of February 28, 1925. It occurred on March 1 by Universal time and February 28 by Eastern Standard time. An appendix discusses the previous seismic record of the St.Lawrence Valley.
  • K1 KAIN, S. W., 1898. List of recorded earthquakes in New Brunswick: Natural Hist. Soc. N.B. Bull., No. 16, art. 2, 16-22.
  • L1 LAFLAMME, Msgr. J.-C. K., 1907. Les tremblements de terre de la région de Québec- Soc. Roy. Can. Mém. sec. 4, 157-183.
  • M3 MATHER, K. F., and GODFREY, H., assisted by HAMPSON, Katherine,1927. The record of earthquakes felt by man in New England: Copy of the manuscript of a paper presented to the Eastern Section of the Seismological Society of America in May, 1927.
  • M7 MILNE, J., 1913. A catalogue of destructive earthquakes A.D. 7 to A.D. 1899: Brit. Assoc. Advance. Sci. Rep., Portsmouth meeting, 1911.