Sitting at work today at my computer, my peaceful afternoon was disrupted when the room started to shake. At first I chalked it up to heavy equipment moving around at the business next door. Then it continued... and continued... and continued... The USB cable attached to the side of one of my monitors was swinging back and forth quite a bit. After about 20 seconds or so, the motion subsided. Was that an earthquake? Hmmm... Then my cell phone rang. DW was on the phone - "Did you feel that?"
I later found out that it was an earthquake in Virginia that registered 5.8 on the Richter Scale. As an engineer, that is truly an impressive amount of energy that must have been released for us to feel it here and people as far north as Toronto to also feel it!
MINERAL, Va. (AP) — For a few minutes from Georgia to Maine, the question rang out: What was that? The answer — a rare East Coast earthquake, magnitude 5.8 — was far down on the list for most not used to the earth shaking beneath them.
In Washington and New York, their nerves still raw, thoughts instantly turned to terrorism. In small towns and rural areas near the epicenter and elsewhere, guesses ran the gamut: A truck crash or train derailment. A plane breaking the sound barrier. Worse, a nuclear reactor exploding.
There ended up being no known deaths or serious injuries from Tuesday's quake, but cracks appeared in the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral, which had three capstones break off its tower. Windows shattered and grocery stores were wrecked in Virginia, where the quake was centered. The White House and Capitol were evacuated.
A day later, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the quake serves as a reminder for residents to be prepared.
"We talk about hurricanes this time of year, but we forget that A: earthquakes don't have a season and B: they are not just a western hazard," FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America.