A 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of the Washington, D.C., on Aug. 23, and was felt all over the East Coast. Tremors were reported as far north as Rhode Island and New York City and as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C., and right here in Washington County.
Many residents in Johnson City and Jonesborough reported feeling the ground rumbling shortly after the quake hit at 1:51 p.m. One local resident said it felt as if someone “had picked up and shook” the sofa she was sitting on.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was half a mile deep, and was centered near Louisa, Va., which is south of Washington.
The shaking was felt at the White House, which was evacuated for security concerns. Parts of the Pentagon were also evacuated, as well as government and financial offices in New York City. People were told to leave the 26-story federal courthouse in lower Manhattan when the building began swaying.
At Reagan National Airport outside Washington, ceiling tiles fell during the quake. Flights were put on hold there, as well as other airports in New York. Nuclear power plants in the region also were shut down as a safety precaution.
President Barack Obama and members of Congress were out of town for August vacation when the quake struck. The Associated Press reported the shaking was felt on the Martha’s Vineyard golf course where Obama was about to tee off.
Geological officials say while its not uncommon for the East Coast to get earthquakes, they are usually smaller than the one felt last week. The East Coast is typically less prepared than California or Alaska when it comes to earthquakes.
The Virginia quake came a day after an earthquake in Colorado shook groceries off shelves and caused minor damage to homes in the southern part of the state and in northern New Mexico.
Did you feel the earthquake? Where were you and how did you react?
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