Washington, D.C. Earthquake 2011: 5.8 Earthquake Hits Nation's Capital, Felt In New York
Preliminary reports are indicating that a 5.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Virginia at 1:51 pm EDT., according to the USGS.
Shaking has been reported as far north as New York. Reports of shaking have also been coming in from the New England area. According to the USGS, a magnitude 5.5 Eastern US earthquake can typically be felt as far as 300 miles away.
The USGS reported that epicenter of the quake was located in Louisa, Va. just southeast of Charlottesville and northwest of Richmond.
From the AP:
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was half a mile deep. Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
UPDATE: The USGS has since upgraded the magnitude of the earthquake to 5.9 and stated that it occurred at a depth of about 0.1 miles.
UPADTE 2: Upon further review, the USGS has adjusted the magnitude of the quake back to 5.8 and adjusted the estimated depth to 3.7 miles.
|@ washingtonpost : Washington Monument may be cracked and could be closed indefinitely. http://t.co/tRq7ahD #dcquake #earthquake -via @postlocal|
According to USGS, preliminary 4.2-magnitude aftershock in Mineral, Virginia
|@ jdickerson : Quake just hit again. Kids furious they've missed it twice This time they were jumping around house-- couldn't distinguish.|
HuffPost's Christina Wilke reports:
MINERAL, Va. -- Residents of this small town in Central Virginia's farming county began repairing the damage to their homes and businesses Tuesday after an earthquake struck their close-knit community. The quake measured 5.8 on the Richter scale, a force not seen in this part of the country in more than a century.
"I felt the whole house coming in from underneath me, and everything flew off the shelves," said Dot Payne, a lifelong resident of Mineral. "It felt like it lasted forever, but it was probably only 40 seconds."
|@ twitter : And, we hit about 5,500 Tweets per second (TPS). For context, this TPS is more than Osama Bin Laden's death & on par w/ the Japanese quake.|
|@ twitter : Within a minute of today's #earthquake, there were more than 40,000 earthquake-related Tweets.|
According to the White House pool report, Josh Earnest provided an earthquake update, stating: "The president didn't feel the earthquake today."
On Facebook, Twitter and even Google's fledging Plus network, people asked Tuesday if it was really an earthquake they just felt or perhaps Godzilla paying a visit. For many, it was the first quake they ever experienced.
Their West Coast peers, more used to such rumblings, promptly started making fun of them.
"Really all this excitement over a 5.8 quake??? Come on East Coast, we have those for breakfast out here!!!!" wrote Dennis Miller, 50, a lifelong California resident whose house in Pleasanton sits on an earthquake fault line. He said he's had a number of people click "like" on his post on Facebook – all of them from the West Coast, though.
Chevy Chase Patch provides an image of the National Cathedral with a lost pinnacle here.
HuffPost's Jen Bendery and Sara Kenigsberg report that in D.C., "employees from an array of government agencies and chain restaurants stood together along the sidewalks for more than an hour as their buildings were being cleared for re-entry." More here.
CLEVELAND -- Shock waves from an earthquake on the East Coast made the press box sway slightly and sent some fans toward the exits during the first game of a doubleheader between the Indians and Seattle Mariners.
As the Mariners were batting in the fourth inning Tuesday, the press box high above home plate and the third-base line moved left and right and continued for nearly 30 seconds. Fans sitting in the upper deck at Progressive Field noticed the unusual movement, and weren't sure what was happening.
The USGS has now recorded two aftershocks measuring 2.8 and 2.2 in magnitude.
HuffPost's Lynne Peeples reports:
Has today's earthquake distracted East Coasters from a greater pending threat?
The National Hurricane Center forecasts Hurricane Irene's winds will peak at about 125 mph over the next few days, as the storm makes its way through the Bahamas and up the eastern seaboard -- potentially as far north as New England.
The result could very well be a double or even triple-whammy of natural hazards for some regions. “The flooding may be intensified in areas that have received torrential rainfall recently this month, such as coastal areas of the Northeast,” reported AccuWeather.com.
During a press conference on the earthquake, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said that he is “more concerned” about the approaching hurricane, according to a tweet from The New York Times’ Michael Paulson.
“There is nothing between where Irene is now and the U.S. in keeping it from not intensifying further into a major hurricane,” Chris Hyde, a meteorologist with MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Md., told Bloomberg News. “The water temperatures are warm especially when you get to the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream is going to explode this thing.”
A YouTube user has uploaded video of a dog reacting to the earthquake in Virginia.WATCH:
HuffPost's Tom Zeller reports:
Dr. Lynn Sykes, an earthquake expert at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said that while Tuesday’s 5.8 temblor near Mineral, Va., was a new high for the so-called central Virginia seismic zone, it ought not be thought of as a harbinger of things to come.
“We should read this as just another earthquake,” Sykes said. He added, however, that it should serve as something of a “wake-up call.” No one is alive who can recall the 5.2 magnitude earthquake that hit New York City in 1884, Sykes said, but they do happen. And easterners, he said, are complacent in the sense that critical infrastructure -- including nuclear power plants -- east of the Mississippi are typically not designed to withstand high-magnitude earthquakes.
The Indian Point nuclear power plant just north of New York City is designed to withstand a 6.1 magnitude quake, for example.
“Back in the 1960s, when the first designs for these plants were put forth, the idea was that this area is not as active as others -- and that’s true,” Sykes said. “But they went ahead and designed reactors for quite a small earthquake.”
Patch reports that an already low turnout is likely to be even lower for primary voting in Northern Virginia:
"We're setting up voting in parking lots in some places," said Edgardo Cortes, registrar, for Fairfax County Office of Elections. Voting in parking lots is either by paper ballot or machines operating on battery power, he noted.
HuffPost's Jen Bendery gets reactions from D.C. following the earthquake:WATCH:
At Union Jack’s on St. Elmo Avenue in downtown Bethesda, bartenders were whipping up earthquake-themed shots and drinks.
The $4 “Earthquake” cocktail – whiskey, orange juice and amaretto – was accompanied by the “Aftershock” shot, otherwise known as Goldschläger with a touch of grenadine.
Patch reports from Columbia, Maryland:
Howard County Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Laura Morena-Hill said the quake started soft, with the floor and her office chair vibrating.
“But it quickly picked up intensity and strength to the point the whole building was rocking and shaking back and forth,” she wrote in an e-mail. “It only lasted a few minutes, but those were the scariest few minutes of my life! We all ran out of the building and stood outside until we thought it was safe.”
The Washington City Paper offers a list of what has closed down as a result of the quake, available here.
|@ LukeRussert : Cap Police: "The Capitol Building has been inspected by structural engineers and is ready for re-entry." Go grab your Gn'R CDs @bdayspring|
HuffPost's Tom Zeller reports:
The American Society for Civil Engineers’ most recent “report card” on national infrastructure lists a number of trouble spots in Virginia -- including 143 “high-hazard” dams, one of which sits on Lake Anna near the North Anna nuclear power plant.
“A high hazard dam is defined as a dam whose failure would cause a loss of life and significant property damage,” the group notes on its website.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. National Park Service says all memorials and monuments on the National Mall in Washington have been evacuated and closed after an earthquake struck near the nation's capital. No damage was reported.
The Park Service says the memorials and monuments, including the newly opened Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, were evacuated immediately after the quake.
A building at 125th street and 7th avenue in Harlem is cordoned off after it was found to have a crack after an earthquake hit the New York City area. New York City residents evacuated buildings after an early afternoon earthquake hit Virginia and could be felt as far north as Harlem in New York City on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011.Photo courtesy of AOL's Damon Dahlen
Firefighters were called to inspect numerous unsafe building conditions after an early afternoon earthquake hits Virginia and could be felt as far north as Harlem in New York City on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011. The majority of buildings had nothing wrong with them and were deemed safe.Photo courtesy of AOL's Damon Dahlen