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Posted by on Aug 23, 2011 in Breaking News, Places, Science & Technology, Society | 9 comments

Earthquake Strikes East Coast (Updated)

Update: For any of our readers on the East Coast, please feel free to comment and offer us feedback on your experience.
Update: CNN interviewed the vice mayor of Mineral who reported that the town hall has considerable damage to the roof (crumbling bricks) and she has felt 5 aftershocks.
Update: TMV correspondent Shaun Mullen reports as follows

I was at the university library where I work (about 200 miles from the epicenter) when there suddenly was about 15 seconds of shaking and a few small aftershocks. The American students acted confused while the Asian students — we have a large Chinese and Japanese student presence — knew exactly what to do. They grabbed their laptops and books and fled the library.

I lived in Japan for three years and can state with authority that today’s quake was small beer. Newsworthy, but not much.

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake has struck in the area of Mineral, Virginia (about 90 miles from DC). Reports now say it may be 5.9 and would be the largest to strike the region since the 19th century. Serious aftershocks are considered unlikely according to the USGS.

The quake was felt in the Washington DC area and news reports say that it was felt as far away as Ohio and New England. This is not surprising since the East part of the country has far fewer mountains to block or absorb the shock waves. In addition the structure of the rocks and the overall geology is such that the energy of the quake is transmitted further and faster than in the Western US.

One of our TMV writers from the DC area says that it was mild shaking with no damages or injuries in their area, but lots of people milling around outside.

An 1811 quake in Missouri for example was felt over 1,000 miles away from the epicenter. That quake was part of a series during 1811 and 1812 that most experts consider the largest earthquakes ever to strike North America and possibly the largest ever worldwide.

Reports now coming in that most regional airports (Reagan, Newark, JFK) have been closed down for routine safety inspections. Any time you have a good sized shock you need to check the runways to make sure no cracks have occurred.

Also several regional nuclear plants have closed for the same reason. No report of any problems at all, it’s just automatic safety procedure.

All in all it looks like things are not that bad but people are going through the routine safety inspections and corresponding shutdowns. This will likely mean a big mess for commutes tonight as the trains will take time to catch up, roads and tunnels and bridges may be closed, etc.

Although earthquakes are rare on the east coast they are not unprecedented. A powerful quake struck the Charleston SC area in the 19th century and most east coast cities have experienced strong shocks over the years.

No reported serious damage or injuiries reported yet. However the Pentagon and US Capitol building are reportedly being evacuated for safety reasons.

Living in California I’ve experienced plenty quakes and 5.8 is a pretty decent sized shock. It’s not a major disaster but it’s not a mild shake either. I would expect to see some damage reports coming in and would not be shocked if some serious damage was done closer to the epicenter. However thankfully so far no such reports.

UPDATE: This is worth putting HIGHER than the other videos that came earlier. Watch the earthquake interrupt a news briefing in Washington DC:

Live coverage on CNN (and all the other networks)

UPDATE: More videos:

Earthquake caught on tape in DC (no sound):

CNN report:

SKY News in the UK:

Footage of some damage from the quake in Virginia:

A You Tuber tells what he felt:

You can follow blog coverage HERE.


CBS News has a report a bit more accurate than some of the earlier ones:

MSNBC now has this aired report up on its site:

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FOX News: DC reacts:

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