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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Magnitude 5.8 - 6.0 Earthquake Hits Virginia Aug. 23, 2011

Adding updates as they come out below post.A link to history of VA earthquakes for those who are interested is down below as well.

USGS has the details and will have an update on their Preliminary magnitude which is 5.8 for the earthquake that hit Virginia. [Update] USGS now calling it a 5.9 magnitude earthquake.
[Update] Now news is reporting USGS has just downgraded the quake again to a 5.8, but the USGS site isn't showing that change as of yet.

Reuters is reporting it as a 6.0 and saying it struck the U.S. East Coast from Virginia to Boston.

The Daily Caller says it was felt in Washington, New York City, North Carolina.

Trivia- History of earthquakes that have hit Virginia. More Virginia earthquake information at USGS.

[Update] Wapo reports that this might just be "foreshock," and more possibly to come:

Minutes after the quake, the director of the U.S. Geological Survey, Marcia McNutt -- who watched objects falling from the shelves in her office -- cautioned that the shaking might not be over.

“What the concern is, of course, is that this is a foreshock. If it’s a foreshock, then the worse is yet to come.”


The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was 3.7 miles deep and struck near Mineral, Va., a city 83 miles from Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and other buildings were evacuated. Pictures in the Capitol building reportedly fell from the walls. Buildings in New York City shook briefly Tuesday afternoon.

The Eric Holder, the attorney general, has been evacuated from the Department of Justice.

[Update] NewsNet 5 is saying it was felt in Ohio.

There are reports coming in after a Virginia-based earthquake was felt in Northeast Ohio on Tuesday.

The quake happened just before 2 p.m. The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.9 earthquake happened near Mineral, Va., and was felt in Washington, New York City, North Carolina.

In downtown Cleveland, the ground shook at the WEWS studios, causing lights to sway.

Television news is reporting that two nuclear reactors close to quake site have been taken offline and calling it standard operating procedure. [Update] Link added

[Update] Local ABC (New York) is providing live coverage, via video feed.

[Updates] Reports of some minor damage to buildings, many evacuations and questions of structural damage to buildings not built for this type of event.

[Update] Cell services are crashing due to an influx of non-emergency calls.

[Update] More on the nuclear power plants from WSJ and CNN.


Tuesday's Virginia earthquake triggered the shutdown of a nearby nuclear power plant and alerts at nine others across the East Coast, U.S. authorities reported.

Dominion Virginia Power said both reactors at its North Anna plant, less than 20 miles from the epicenter of the magnitude-5.9 quake, shut down after the first tremors. Amanda Reidelbach, an emergency management spokeswoman for Louisa County, said the plant venting steam, but there was no release of radioactive material.

David Heacock, the utility's chief nuclear officer, said the plant was operating on emergency power and the units were safely deactivated.

"The plants are designed for this kind of a seismic event," Heacock said. "There is no apparent damage to anything at the plant right now."


The North Anna Power Station, which has two nuclear reactors, is now using four diesel generators to maintain cooling operations. The plant automatically shut down in the wake of the earthquake.

"As far as we know, everything is safe," said Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman David McIntyre.

Nine nuclear plants have declared "unusual events" today, which is the lowest of four emergency situations, the NRC said.

The plants are located in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Side Note: I didn't see this amount of attention given to the earthquake in Colorado yesterday.

The largest natural earthquake in Colorado in more than a century struck Monday night in the state’s southeast corner, but there had been no reports of damage or injuries.

(Headline change to reflect reporting of conflicting magnitudes)