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The rolling Gatineau hills are seen over-looking highway 148 just west of Ottawa in Shawville, Que. in this 1995 file photo.

The Globe and Mail

An earthquake centred northwest of Ottawa has rattled buildings and nerves across a wide swath of Ontario and Quebec.

Earthquakes Canada again revised its original report Friday, saying it registered a 5.2-magnitude temblor with an epicentre located about 17 kilometres northeast of Shawville, Que., about an hour's drive outside the national capital.

The first report said a 4.8 magnitude quake was centred near the town of Braeside, Ont., Updates raised that to 5.1 and then 5.2 and shifted the epicentre as the agency fine-tuned its data.

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Less than 10 minutes after the first quake, a 4.2-magnitude aftershock was also recorded.

The original quake was powerful enough to shake the big stone and brick building that houses the municipal offices in Shawville, said the community's mayor.

"The windowsill, the walls seemed to shift up and down," Mayor Albert Armstrong told The Canadian Press. "My cabinet behind me was shaking and twisting.

"I've lived here all my life and I've never witnessed one like that before."

The quake touched off an eruption of reaction on Twitter as users reported buildings shaking in Ottawa for several seconds; it was also felt in Toronto.

Ontario Provincial Police in Arnprior, Ont., not far from the epicentre, said they had received no reports of damage.

The quake was slightly stronger than the last one of significance to hit the region — a magnitude 5.0 earthquake that was felt on the afternoon of June 23, 2010.

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That quake's epicentre was situated in the area of Buckingham, Que., about 56 km north of Ottawa.

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