I felt the earth. move. under my feet

I felt the earth. move. under my feet August 24, 2011

I was writing in my office at school when, around 1:51 yesterday, the building and my desk with the built in bookshelf started shaking.  Hard.  Back and forth for thirty seconds.   My mind went just blank, and when I gathered my wits, right at the time it was over, I realized, Earthquake!

I have never experienced one of those and have always been kind of paranoid about it, mildly worried whenever I set foot in California.  I had heard from my California friends that they went through them all the time, that they were usually just mild ripples.  This was no mild ripple!  It was a hard long shake.  It turned out to have been 5.9 on the Richter scale, no less, with an epicenter of around 100 miles away from us in central Virginia.   We are close to Washington, D.C., where I’m told people downtown rushed into the street and the Pentagon and White House were evacuated.  The quake was felt for hundreds of miles, including in Philadelphia, Boston, and New York, where JFK airport was shut down.  And yet there seems to be no damage to speak of and no one hurt.  (If you hear reports otherwise, please report them in a comment.)

Some of you readers must have felt it too.  If you did, please report and give your location.  Let’s see if we can calculate how far this thing reached.

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  • Pete

    I was in my office, about an hour east of Raleigh, North Carolina, and my window blinds started rattling. Someone in the office commented that she felt like somebody was moving her chair. It was over pretty quickly. This was mild compared with the one I remember experiencing from the 7th floor of a building in San Francisco thirty years ago.

  • Pete

    I was in my office, about an hour east of Raleigh, North Carolina, and my window blinds started rattling. Someone in the office commented that she felt like somebody was moving her chair. It was over pretty quickly. This was mild compared with the one I remember experiencing from the 7th floor of a building in San Francisco thirty years ago.

  • You folks got a taste of what we live with out here in California.

    I’m glad there wasn’t too much damage or any injuries.

    With all the activity around the Ring of Fire lately, I do expect that we (here in California and the Pacific Northwest) are due for a BIG one, in the near future.

  • You folks got a taste of what we live with out here in California.

    I’m glad there wasn’t too much damage or any injuries.

    With all the activity around the Ring of Fire lately, I do expect that we (here in California and the Pacific Northwest) are due for a BIG one, in the near future.

  • SKPeterson

    I didn’t feel anything in East Tennessee. The biggest shock wave felt here was Pat Summitt announcing she had early onset dementia.

  • SKPeterson

    I didn’t feel anything in East Tennessee. The biggest shock wave felt here was Pat Summitt announcing she had early onset dementia.

  • WebMonk

    I was in an office in Virginia and on the phone at the time it hit. I feel extremely ashamed that the most clever thing I could come up with to say to the person on the line was “I think we’re having an earthquake. Huh. Anyway, blah, blah, blah.”

    I hang my head in shame.

    I had things sliding around on my desks, but nothing vibrated all the way off. I’ve been right next to tracks as a train roars by at high speed, and this was quite a bit stronger than that. Frankly, it was fun!

  • WebMonk

    I was in an office in Virginia and on the phone at the time it hit. I feel extremely ashamed that the most clever thing I could come up with to say to the person on the line was “I think we’re having an earthquake. Huh. Anyway, blah, blah, blah.”

    I hang my head in shame.

    I had things sliding around on my desks, but nothing vibrated all the way off. I’ve been right next to tracks as a train roars by at high speed, and this was quite a bit stronger than that. Frankly, it was fun!

  • I’m in Muncie, Indiana and a number of people who were high up in tall buildings felt a gentle shaking. The story was in our local newspaper this morning: http://www.thestarpress.com/article/20110824/NEWS01/108240312/-Moderate-quake-leaves-few-high-placed-residents-shaken?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage%20DontMiss

  • I’m in Muncie, Indiana and a number of people who were high up in tall buildings felt a gentle shaking. The story was in our local newspaper this morning: http://www.thestarpress.com/article/20110824/NEWS01/108240312/-Moderate-quake-leaves-few-high-placed-residents-shaken?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage%20DontMiss

  • Joe

    There were reports that some people felt it here in Milwaukee. I (sitting on the 29th floor of my building) did not. I am a skeptic but I suppose it could have happened.

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/usandworld/128294718.html

  • Joe

    There were reports that some people felt it here in Milwaukee. I (sitting on the 29th floor of my building) did not. I am a skeptic but I suppose it could have happened.

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/usandworld/128294718.html

  • I work in Herndon, Virginia (near Dulles airport) on the 4th floor of an 8-story building. Yes, we shook for a few seconds. We evacuated the building so that someone could walk around and see if anything broke (nothing did).

    Of course people evacuated their buildings for a while. No one wants to get sued!

    I went home and took a nap.

  • I work in Herndon, Virginia (near Dulles airport) on the 4th floor of an 8-story building. Yes, we shook for a few seconds. We evacuated the building so that someone could walk around and see if anything broke (nothing did).

    Of course people evacuated their buildings for a while. No one wants to get sued!

    I went home and took a nap.

  • SM

    Last Sunday at Our Savior Lutheran, we sang:

    Built on the Rock the Church doth stand,
    Even when steeples are falling,
    Crumbled have spires in every land

    It appears to have been a very prescient hymn choice.

    WASHINGTON – A 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck central Virginia and sent tremors along the East Coast damaged three of the four pinnacles atop the main tower of the landmark Washington National Cathedral on Tuesday, and there were visible cracks in the church’s structure.
    The pinnacles are the top spires on the cathedral’s towers and are the highest point in the city. The tops of the pinnacles — capstones known as finials — fell off, littering the surrounding grounds with stones and small chunks of rubble

  • SM

    Last Sunday at Our Savior Lutheran, we sang:

    Built on the Rock the Church doth stand,
    Even when steeples are falling,
    Crumbled have spires in every land

    It appears to have been a very prescient hymn choice.

    WASHINGTON – A 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck central Virginia and sent tremors along the East Coast damaged three of the four pinnacles atop the main tower of the landmark Washington National Cathedral on Tuesday, and there were visible cracks in the church’s structure.
    The pinnacles are the top spires on the cathedral’s towers and are the highest point in the city. The tops of the pinnacles — capstones known as finials — fell off, littering the surrounding grounds with stones and small chunks of rubble

  • Mattie Chatham

    Actually, that’s about average for a “mild ripple” in CA standards. 🙂 We felt it just northeast of DC–but friends of mine in NYC and Boston felt it, as well as others in AL and NC

  • Mattie Chatham

    Actually, that’s about average for a “mild ripple” in CA standards. 🙂 We felt it just northeast of DC–but friends of mine in NYC and Boston felt it, as well as others in AL and NC

  • Kirk

    In down town DC, I lost a pen off the edge of my desk. We will rebuild!

  • Kirk

    In down town DC, I lost a pen off the edge of my desk. We will rebuild!

  • Michelle

    There was more damage closer to the epicenter. Buildings have been condemned and businesses temporarily closed. http://www2.starexponent.com/news/2011/aug/24/earthquake-culpeper-damage-done-ar-1258754/

  • Michelle

    There was more damage closer to the epicenter. Buildings have been condemned and businesses temporarily closed. http://www2.starexponent.com/news/2011/aug/24/earthquake-culpeper-damage-done-ar-1258754/

  • Definitely felt it here in Windsor, CT.

  • Definitely felt it here in Windsor, CT.

  • Carole King, Tapestry, early seventies.

  • Carole King, Tapestry, early seventies.

  • A joke going around on Facebook says that the quake was centered in a cemetery near D.C. It was caused by the Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves… Of course, it occurred on a obscure faultline known as “Bush’s Fault.”

  • A joke going around on Facebook says that the quake was centered in a cemetery near D.C. It was caused by the Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves… Of course, it occurred on a obscure faultline known as “Bush’s Fault.”

  • Lou

    Another Facebook going around was that the 5.8 earthquake felt in DC was really Obama’s/Congress’s bouncing checkbook.

    We felt it here just east of Baltimore. The walls were wavering and the bdgs were evacuated for safety.

    SM#8, loved the “very prescient hymn choice” and accompanying news byte.

  • Lou

    Another Facebook going around was that the 5.8 earthquake felt in DC was really Obama’s/Congress’s bouncing checkbook.

    We felt it here just east of Baltimore. The walls were wavering and the bdgs were evacuated for safety.

    SM#8, loved the “very prescient hymn choice” and accompanying news byte.

  • DonS

    We flew out of JFK about 1/2 hour before the quake — good thing, because they shut the airport down for a couple of hours, as they evacuated the control tower and couldn’t re-enter until it had been inspected. We saw the news on TV on the plane — pretty stunning initial reports, since you don’t expect earthquakes of that magnitude in the east. I read it was the largest since 1944.

  • DonS

    We flew out of JFK about 1/2 hour before the quake — good thing, because they shut the airport down for a couple of hours, as they evacuated the control tower and couldn’t re-enter until it had been inspected. We saw the news on TV on the plane — pretty stunning initial reports, since you don’t expect earthquakes of that magnitude in the east. I read it was the largest since 1944.

  • Grace

    I’m so glad no one was injured. It’ must have been frightful for those of you who have never been in a quake before. I can remember from childhood being in earthquakes, my mother rushing to our bedroom at night, standing strong in the door jams. My father going to my brother’s room.

    God bless all of you, I hope there won’t be any more.

  • Grace

    I’m so glad no one was injured. It’ must have been frightful for those of you who have never been in a quake before. I can remember from childhood being in earthquakes, my mother rushing to our bedroom at night, standing strong in the door jams. My father going to my brother’s room.

    God bless all of you, I hope there won’t be any more.

  • Jeff

    We felt it in our church office here in Asheboro, NC (30mi south of Greensboro). It was just 30sec or so of a rumbling rather than shanking. Blinds didn’t rattle and nothing fell off the wall or even over on top of my desk. I didn’t even realize it was an earthquake until I read posts from the kids in my youth group all over Facebook and then checked usgs.gov. Crazy thing was there were also posts detailing TWO felt in the previous 24hrs in Colorado (verified on usgs.gov). This was my first experienced quake as well and I’m okay with living without that sort of excitement.

  • Jeff

    We felt it in our church office here in Asheboro, NC (30mi south of Greensboro). It was just 30sec or so of a rumbling rather than shanking. Blinds didn’t rattle and nothing fell off the wall or even over on top of my desk. I didn’t even realize it was an earthquake until I read posts from the kids in my youth group all over Facebook and then checked usgs.gov. Crazy thing was there were also posts detailing TWO felt in the previous 24hrs in Colorado (verified on usgs.gov). This was my first experienced quake as well and I’m okay with living without that sort of excitement.

  • Peter LaRock

    I felt it all the way over in the HSLDA legal department. Not sure if you work in Founders or the Hodel Center, so that’s between 50 to 200 yards, give or take. I was on the phone with my wife at the time, and she confirmed that our house out in Winchester was a quakin’ too.

  • Peter LaRock

    I felt it all the way over in the HSLDA legal department. Not sure if you work in Founders or the Hodel Center, so that’s between 50 to 200 yards, give or take. I was on the phone with my wife at the time, and she confirmed that our house out in Winchester was a quakin’ too.

  • Grace

    Peter @ 19

    I’m glad the earthquake you experienced didn’t cause injury or death. The one we had in Southern CA in 1994 was terrible. One of my friends was living in an apartment at the time, …. it was destroyed, they had to help her through a window to escape.
    More than 8,700 were injured and 57 died.

    1994 Northridge earthquake
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_Northridge_earthquake

    I hope you don’t have any after-shocks.

    God bless you.

  • Grace

    Peter @ 19

    I’m glad the earthquake you experienced didn’t cause injury or death. The one we had in Southern CA in 1994 was terrible. One of my friends was living in an apartment at the time, …. it was destroyed, they had to help her through a window to escape.
    More than 8,700 were injured and 57 died.

    1994 Northridge earthquake
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_Northridge_earthquake

    I hope you don’t have any after-shocks.

    God bless you.

  • Booklover

    Many people felt it at the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania; but our Billings, Montana boys felt a bigger tremor when they defeated California on their way to the U.S. FINALS of the Little League World Series!!! 🙂

  • Booklover

    Many people felt it at the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania; but our Billings, Montana boys felt a bigger tremor when they defeated California on their way to the U.S. FINALS of the Little League World Series!!! 🙂

  • helen

    Go for it, Booklover!

  • helen

    Go for it, Booklover!