Rare Major Earthquake Strikes US Eastern Coastal Plain

If you felt the Earth move today, you weren’t imagining things. Felt from the Carolinas to Southern New England, a magnitude 5.8 (Richtor scale) quake occurred in Northern Virginia at 1:51 PM EDT today. Magnitude 4+ equivalent seismic waves were felt in NY City and Raleigh…the primary wave from the quake traveled hundreds of miles in a matter of minutes and surprised the hell out of East Coast residents.

Fortunately, the worst of the quake happened in very rural Northern VA, so structural damage is likely to be minor. Nonetheless…that was a startling experience!

Edited @ 7:51 PM EDT by Stephanie S.:

The Washington Post has coverage of the quake here.

“I moved to Washington from L.A. three years ago and am used to tremors,” said Nick Peters, who works in the District. “This one was a real one. Our office building in downtown D.C. shook steadily for a good 45 seconds, and the intensity kept building until it stopped. I was hanging on to my desk waiting for something to fall, but nothing did. Still, this was no little bump.”

That’s what we felt here in Woodbridge. It was totally bizarre. I mean, I know earthquakes do happen on the East Coast occasionally, but still…

Edited Again @ 8:11 EDT:

They were taping over at AccuWeather when the quake hit:


EDITED @ 8:17 PM by SABR Matt:

My own experience with the quake was similar to the description from DC except much lower in magnitude. I’ve felt 4.0 quakes on the east coast…but they’re usually short, sharp bumps…like what you get when you stand next to the road while a heavy tanker hits a pot hole. They usually only last a few seconds. This was a very low-frequency vibration that felt like I was on a boat. I thought I was having a stroke for a second – like I was very dizzy for no reason. But once my office mate turned and said “do you feel that?” I realized it was an earthquake. It made no sound in New York…but it did cause a pressure wave in the atmosphere as the ground rolled just enough to change the air pressure above it. Fascinating feeling the waves in my ears.

This far-reaching impact came from the “primary” wave of the tremor…the first set of vibrations…and had a distinctly transverse pattern (side to side, not just up and down). All classic signs of a settling quake…as is the extremely shallow position of the quake (estimated at less than a kilometer below ground level) and the long duration of the event.

Edited @ 8:57 by Stephanie S.:

I just laughed my ass off at this:

DC Earthquake Devastation

Horrors! How will we ever recover?