Abstract

Sixteen earthquakes between 1627 and 1660 are included in catalogs of earthquakes in eastern North America in common use today. Critical examination of primary documents of the 1600s and early 1700s has established that 13 of these events did not occur, four of which had cataloged intensities from MM V to VII. Some of these nonexistent events have persisted in earthquake catalogs for over 100 yr. Most errors arose when earthquake information was abstracted from lengthy historical documents without regard for context, permitting misinterpretations and misprints to remain unchallenged until now. Quotations from all relevant primary sources document not only the errors but also the facts available for the earthquakes known to have occurred in eastern North America between 1627 and 1660, namely those in June 1638 (mainshock and several aftershocks) and in March 1643.

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