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Virginia Earthquake Sent Tremors Along East Coast Seaboard in USA

Updated on May 21, 2012
 Photo of Capital Bldg taken this Spring
Photo of Capital Bldg taken this Spring

On August 23, 2011 there was an earthquake that hit Mineral, Virginia USA. USGS are saying the magnitude was about 5.8-6. There continue to be updates in reports but, so far, it is known that the quake was felt in VA, NC, even GA, RI, CT, PA, MD and most notably Washington DC and NY. In fact, the capital building and other nearby buildings have been evacuated, as workers and visitors feared another 9/11-like situation. All monuments on the national mall in Washington, DC. were closed, we were told by news personnel. In fact, a recent report says the tremor was felt further north to Ontario, Canada. My husband and I were just sitting in the living room discussing what we were going to do today on the second day of his vacation when we suddenly experienced a tremor of about 20 to 25 seconds that caused the entire house to shake! We had never experienced anything like this before in our lifetime! We have heard of tremors on the east coast but never really experienced one that affected more than a conversation at the water cooler. Geologist are already warning that there could be aftershocks from this earthquake. People were in the streets and standing out on the lawns. If you live on the east coast, you know that this is not typical. This is something we hear about happening in California, not here. In fact, for most people on the east coast, we would suspect a truck or some heavy equipment causing such a rumble long before suspecting an earthquake. Yet that is just what we have had.

Another concern was the 2 nuclear reactors located near the epicenter which have been placed offline. We are told they are fine also. Hopefully, that will not become a problem. Phone service has been interrupted because of bottlenecking with so many calls clogging the services. I have not been able to reach my brother in NY but feel sure that I will later. We have been told on a live report that there is no reason to freak out or panic, and that as far as they can tell no major damage has been done, and no lives have been reported lost. Hopefully, that will not change and we are surely grateful for that. Even if there are aftershocks, we hope they will not cause injuries, severe damage, or significant loss of property or life.

Calm after the VA Quake

We have been reassured by reports made that all is well. No deaths or serious injuries. Buildings are being checked. That is important since buildings on the east coast are not built to withstand earthquakes like those in California or even Japan. These precautions should not lead to panic, say officials. We are also told by Richard Allen of the University of California that it is not unsual to have a quake in this area and that usually an aftershock will not exceed the magnitude of the initial quake. It can happen but that is very unusual. Amtrak and Metro stations are making checks and expecting delays but hopeful that things will continue to run throughout the day and serve rush-hour commuters. JFK is expected to resume flights. For now, we will take comfort in knowing that things are not worse and hope they do not escalate later.

Disaster Preparedness Reminder

As the calm sets in, realizing that the earthquake in Mineral, Virginia has passed for now, I am reminded of the good advice to be prepared for disasters. Natural disasters are something nobody wants to think about but anybody and everyone can be affected by them at any time. I have started but long since abandoned efforts to be prepared. I think I stopped at flashlight, water, and some canned food items. That list should also include medications, dusk masks, glasses, and numerous other items. Now that I have experienced this tremor and the uneasy feeling of not being fully prepared, I am going to do something about it, not tomorrow, next week, or next month. Today my husband and I have decided that one thing we are doing today is putting together a disaster plan and gathering a kit of practical items needed for such a disaster. So off we go to get a kit together, make a plan, and to try to keep informed because even as I am writing this, there is talk of a hurricane headed for the east coast. Hey there are no guarantees that you will survive any type of disaster, but surely making some reasonable preparations for disaster would be prudent and could increase the likelihood of survival. What about you and your family? The link below might be very helpful to you and your family in preparing also.


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    • Cassidella profile image

      Cassidella 6 years ago

      Hey Francesca, glad it was just a fright after all. So glad nobody was seriously injured or killed. We already had some emergency items but went out to get more yesterday. It is good to check dates on stuff too because some do expire. Also, I thought it was a good idea to print the directions from the FEMA website of what to do before, during, after disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes for review because the steps are different for each type of disaster. I appreciate your visit.

    • Francesca27 profile image

      Francesca27 6 years ago from Hub Page

      Hi Cassidella: We also felt the tremor. A friend of mine and her two young children were processing garden produce and were just finishing up when the kitchen light fixture and a hurricane candle that was mounted on a wall started to shake. We heard the glass around the candle make a clinking noise and the light fixture didn't stop swaying back and forth for over ten minutes. I got a tingling feeling in my legs, a sick feeling in my stomach and a head ache. The children were crying and we just hugged each other. I knew what it was and I also knew that it was close but not exactly in our backyard. This same thing happened back in the early 1980's in NYC when I was only married a few years. We were getting ready for work and the mirror and a few other items were moving about. This time I felt like I was on a ship and it was swaying a bit. I'm glad I got an disaster kit ready a few years ago. Time to check the items and bring it up to date. It took me a few months to follow the Red Cross suggestions from their disaster kit information. Hope you get your kit ready soon. Francesca27