The 1944 Magnitude 5.8 Cornwall-Massena earthquake

Location and Magnitude

  • Local Date and Time: September 5, 1944 at 12:38:45 am Eastern time
  • UT Date and Time: 1944-09-05 04:38:45 UT
  • Magnitude: MW 5.8; MS 5.6; mN 5.8
  • Maximum Intensity: Modified Mercalli VII
  • Latitude: 44.97° N
  • Longitude: 74.90° W
  • Depth: 20 km

Isoseismal Map: (Modified Mercalli)

Although this earthquake was only of magnitude 5.8, it caused considerable damage in both Cornwall and Massena, New York. About 2,000 chimneys were damaged in Cornwall.

Map of affected area

Cornwall, Ontario

Considerable damage was caused at the Collegiate and Vocational School. The falling masonry broke through the roof of the adjacent gymnasium.

Damage to a school, exterior Damage to a school, interior

Damage to a residential building.

Damage to a residential building

Damage to a two-storey residence.

Damage to a two-storey residence


  • Bent, A.L., 1996. Source parameters of the damaging Cornwall-Massena earthquake of 1944 from regional waveforms. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, V. 86, 489-497.
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