ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Geography, Nature & Weather

East Coast Earthquake

Updated on September 24, 2012
Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannie has been writing for HubPages for over 5 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—anything from hamsters to office work.


I Feel the Earth Move...

As many of you know, an earthquake occurred in Virginia earlier today at 1:50 pm, August 23, 2011. I am looking around on Hubpages and I don't see too many people writing about it yet. So yes, it is dirty work, but someone has to do it. So here I am with my firsthand account of my chilling and amazing earthquake experience. Well, OK, maybe it was not that chilling or really too amazing, but here is my firsthand account of the east coast earthquake experience.

I live in Baltimore, MD. We do not get earthquakes. It simply does not happen. So imagine today, when we started to feel a rumble at work. I was sitting at my desk, and my co-workers and I were preparing for a meeting. Suddenly, I start to notice the desk shaking a little. I thought it was my imagination at first when my co-worker beside me goes, "Do you feel that?" Another co-worker in her office says, "What is that?"

A couple of people got up to stand to somehow "investigate" what was happening. That was when everything started to move. The whole place started to shake and the printer begin to bounce on the file cabinet. I was sure the printer was going over. I exclaimed, "It's an earthquake! It must be a real earthquake!"

It was more amazing than anything else. We don't get earthquakes. Earthquakes are for the west coast, not us. What is this? The shaking stopped, but settled down to a little rumble for a bit. We just stood around for a moment and then people decided to run.

Now, I know that just could not have been the right thing to do. I've never been in an earthquake before, but as far as I know, panicking and running out the building is the incorrect response. However, people started to shout that we should leave. The tremors had stopped and everyone else was scrambling to leave, so I figured I would go, too.

Basically, we stood outside for about 30 minutes. The building managers wanted to make sure it was safe to go back in. No one could get their cell phones to work at first. People were a little freaked out trying to make calls and not getting anywhere. Some people were able to get texts, but not calls. Hardly anyone in this area could dial out or text out. I guess at least we had each other. And at least we no longer had to attend that meeting.

Finally, we learned the earthquake's center was in Virginia, close to Richmond. Reports were originally stating it was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake, but now the reports are still coming in and saying it was a 5.8. There was a number of buildings damaged in the Virginia, DC, and Maryland area. Fortunately, no deaths have been reported as of 4:40 pm.

Currently, there are a number of traffic jams as people try to get home to see if they have any damage at their homes. Also, I can hear sirens constantly going back and forth outside my window. I suppose there is still some chaos out there and possible gas leaks.

What You Are Really Supposed to Do...

If you are experiencing an earthquake, DO NOT run outside. Yes, I have double checked this information, and FEMA says, NO NOT go outdoors. Instead, drop to the ground and try to get under a sturdy table. If no table is available, curl up in a corner and stay put.

Avoid windows and objects that are not sturdy.

Use a doorway for shelter if you find yourself standing during an earthquake.

If you are in bed when it happens, stay in bed instead of trying to walk.

NO NOT use elevators!

Source: FEMA

For Now...

Now, here I sit at my computer hoping for no aftershocks. Apparently, some aftershocks have happened already, but I have not yet experienced anything. I am just relieved I lived through it and I don't feel the need to experience it again. I will also remember not listen to my co-workers anymore. I am glad I at least waited until the tremors ended instead of running like some people did. Just remember, if it happens again, SIT DOWN and DON'T RUN!

Hopefully, everything will go back to normal now. I hope everyone out there is safe and be careful if you are trying to commute. Thank goodness we are all safe for now. We have just enough time to calm down so we can prepare for a new disaster this weekend: Hurricane Irene. Suddenly, it isn't so much fun on the east coast anymore!


Submit a Comment

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thanks to you both for your comments! Yes, Cloverleaf, you can look forward to a nice Hurricane Irene hub in the future. justateacher, that is an amazing memory you will always have of your father running in his underwear. Thankfully, I was fully clothed when the earthquake happened. I think people tend to panic more if they are not fully dressed. :-)

  • justateacher profile image

    LaDena Campbell 6 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

    I lived in California in the early 70's when a BIG earthquake hit...I was only seven or eight and the things I remembered most were that it made my big, strong, fearless dad run outside in his underwear...and that the banana tree at the back of our house was moved away from the house by about six inches...I have lived in Kansas now for more than 30 years and have my share of tornadoes...Haysville, Kansas - the small town where we lived at the time was hit by two tornadoes in less than 10 years - the second one destroyed much of our town...between the two I would rather go through another tornado than an earthquake. At least with a tornado you can go into the basement or shelter and be relatively safe...with an earthquake you can't hide unless you are out in the middle of an empty field...

  • Cloverleaf profile image

    Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

    Jeannie, thanks for sharing your story, it must have been very un-nerving at the time. I agree with nycgrl too, I'll be ready to read your Irene story

    Stay safe :-)


  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Yes, I am thinking that will be a good idea. Hopefully, I will take some good photos of that one. I don't know how things are in NY right now, but it is already getting really windy here. Guess Irene is starting to let us know she is coming!

  • nycgrl profile image

    nycgrl 6 years ago from New York

    Make sure you write a hub about your Hurricane Irene experience!

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Wow, it's funny how different areas got it stronger than others. I would have expected you would get most of the rumbles and shakes. I am glad you are OK; that is what is most important. Oh, and thanks so much for sharing the earthquake. You guys are so generous. I guess we will all have hurricane stories this weekend. Thanks for reading and for the comment!

  • Cogerson profile image

    Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

    Well being from the home state of the epicenter....I can tell that I did see any shaking...but I did start to fell somewhat was not until a few minutes later did I realize the dizziness was caused by the earthquake....a very strange day here in good old Virginia....but we Virginians are glad we could share our earthquake with most of the east coast.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    nycgrl - It was so weird, wasn't it? It sure shook Baltimore quite a bit. I think that was why all the buildings evacuated. No one knew what to do. I guess no one could figure out if our buildings could handle an earthqake. I guess they all could. DC did not do as well, but all in all, it was interesting and everyone made it through OK. Sure my new hamster is now scared to death of everything and everyone all over again, but she should get past that. Thanks for the comment.

    Angie - I have a feeling our earthquake was related to that shift. I did not do so swell in my geology class I took in college, but from what little I learned, that does make sense to me. And yes, what is up with this hurricane coming our way, too? At least we are used to hurricanes coming every now and then; no one knew what to do about an earthquake. Thanks for reading and for the comment.

  • Angie Jardine profile image

    Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

    I wonder if your earthquake was caused by a tectonic shift that my grand-daughter and her class mates felt down on Sint Maarten in the Caribbean? They have just had Irene blowing through ... what on earth is going on over at yours, Jeannie?!

    Good hub - though hiding under things inside waiting to be buried if the building comes down does seem very counter-intuitive to me. It just seems much more natural to get out into open spaces and keep dodging.

  • nycgrl profile image

    nycgrl 6 years ago from New York

    Was felt up here in NYC too! I was in my boss's office and it was weird, we looked at each other at first as we saw stuff shaking then people in the office yelled earthquake and everything kept shaking for about 30 seconds to 1 minute then just stopped. But people out on lunch break or outside smoking didn't feel a thing! It was weird but also so quick that it really didn't register. And yea the east coast is completely as unprepared for an earthquake as Los Angles would be for a snow storm, we NEVER get them. Yes we have hurricane evacuations (gonna need those this weekend for Irene) and know what to do for snow storms but a freakin earthquake? any bigger and NYC would have come toppling down with all skyscrapers destroying everything and everyone...super scary. No idea how west coasters live with this day in and day out, a snow storm or hurricane is so much easier to deal with and once they are over, there are no after shocks! Good for you for being smart and writing a hub about it :-)

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Blond Logic - I've never had an earthquake drill before. We just don't have earthquakes around here... it was crazy. We get hurricanes and tornados instead. As a matter of fact, Hurricane Irene is set to visit us this weekend. It is getting kinda scary around here!

    homesteadbound - While it was happening, I was more amazed than anything else. I just kept saying, "This is an earthquake. A real earthquake." I just don't want it to come back. That would be scary.

    Thank you both for your comments!

  • homesteadbound profile image

    Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

    I have never been in an earthquake, but I can't help but imagine that when the ground that is supposed to be stationary starts moving --- that would be scary. It's good to hear that you weren't hurt!

  • Blond Logic profile image

    Mary Wickison 6 years ago from Brazil

    Earthquakes are scary, I don't care how tough you are. I am a Californian and I have been in several. When I was in school we use to have earthquake drills. It was just as you said, they had us get under our desks and curl into a ball.

    Glad to know you are okay.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thank all of you for your comments. It has certainly been a crazy day. From now on, I am not running for the exit if I can still feel some tremors. I was one of the last people to leave anyway. It is true, this helps you remember what is important. Suddenly, our meeting did not seem important anymore. Also, I am just starting to hear about the earthquake in Colorado. What a crazy day! I am so relieved to hear there are no serious injuries from all this.

  • tlpoague profile image

    Tammy 6 years ago from USA

    I am glad to hear that you are ok. I just read this morning that one hit in Colorado. Must be the day for earthquakes. Keep us posted! Thanks!

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

    This should generate some interesting comments! Thanks for your first-hand account and initial thoughts.

    All these things can work to help us consider what's important in life, as well as what's wise in the immediate situations.

  • ThePracticalMommy profile image

    Marissa 6 years ago from United States

    Crazy, right? I felt it here in Pa. Here they had everyone evacuate the buildings, which I see is against what FEMA encourages. We have pretty old buildings and mines beneath us, so a random earthquake is scary! Glad you are okay, and thanks for sharing your experience.