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Earthquakes Canada reported that a small earthquake occurred late Tuesday night on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula. ((CBC))

A small earthquake shook parts of eastern Newfoundland on Tuesday night, authorities said.

The quake with a 3.3 magnitude occurred at 10:56 p.m. local time, with its epicentre near Whitbourne, said Steven Halchuk, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada. The initial report had pegged the magnitude at 3.4.

The Earthquakes Canada office, a division of the federal Department of Natural Resources, reported the site as being 37 kilometres west-southwest of the Conception Bay town of Bay Roberts, although the quake's effects were felt in Placentia Bay, along the Southern Shore of the Avalon Peninsula and as far away as the Burin Peninsula.

"It was a very eerie feeling," said Placentia-area resident Selina Rowe, whose first thoughts included thinking of an underwater earthquake that struck southern Newfoundland in 1929.

"I thought about the tsunami on the Burin [Peninsula] … I got in my car and drove out to the ocean, to see if the bay was empty," Rowe told CBC News.

"It felt like a big boulder, someone had dropped it on the Earth. It had vibrated the house, and even the dog stopped and looked up."

Anecdotal reports also say the quake was strong enough to shake some houses.

Holyrood resident Margaret Swinimer said she did not know what to make of the noise.

"It's like a plane coming very, you know, close to the house. And I said, 'Maybe it's a piece of equipment going by,' but not this hour of the night," she told CBC News early Wednesday.

"It was just a rumbling, like a deep, deep noise, and it didn't last very long," said Swinimer, who called out to her husband, Jack.

"He didn't hear anything because his [Boston] Red Sox were playing," she said, adding the noise continued for about a minute, but that she didn't feel anything move.