Magnitude 5.9 – hits Va.; Felt along U.S. east coast

WASHINGTON – A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of Washington, D.C., and was felt as far north as Rhode Island, New York City and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., where President Barack Obama is vacationing.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was half a mile deep. Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated. There were no immediate reports of injuries. The Pentagon was later deemed safe for reoccupation.

The quake was centered near Louisa, Va., in Louisa County, which is northwest of Richmond and south of Washington.

Obama and many of the nation’s leaders were out of town on August vacation when the quake struck at 1:51 p.m. EDT. The shaking was felt on the Martha’s Vineyard golf course as Obama was just starting a round.

via 5.9 quake hits Va.; Felt along U.S. east coast – CBS News.

Magnitude 5.9 – VIRGINIA

EARTHQUAKES IN THE CENTRAL VIRGINIA SEISMIC ZONE
Since at least 1774, people in central Virginia have felt small earthquakes and suffered damage from infrequent larger ones. The largest damaging earthquake (magnitude 4.8) in the seismic zone occurred in 1875. Smaller earthquakes that cause little or no damage are felt each year or two.

Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S., although less frequent than in the western U.S., are typically felt over a much broader region. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 100 km (60 mi) from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi).

FAULTS
Earthquakes everywhere occur on faults within bedrock, usually miles deep. Most bedrock beneath central Virginia was assembled as continents collided to form a supercontinent about 500-300 million years ago, raising the Appalachian Mountains. Most of the rest of the bedrock formed when the supercontinent rifted apart about 200 million years ago to form what are now the northeastern U.S., the Atlantic Ocean, and Europe.

At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, often scientists can determine the name of the specific fault that is responsible for an earthquake. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case. The Central Virginia seismic zone is far from the nearest plate boundaries, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea. The seismic zone is laced with known faults but numerous smaller or deeply buried faults remain undetected. Even the known faults are poorly located at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few, if any, earthquakes in the seismic zone can be linked to named faults. It is difficult to determine if a known fault is still active and could slip and cause an earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rockies, the best guide to earthquake hazards in the seismic zone is the earthquakes themselves.

Earthquake Information for Virginia

via Magnitude 5.9 – VIRGINIA.

2011 August 23 17:51:03 UTC

Versión en Español

Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Magnitude 5.9
Date-Time
Location 37.975°N, 77.969°W
Depth 1 km (~0.6 mile) (poorly constrained)
Region VIRGINIA
Distances 45 km (27 miles) E of Charlottesville, Virginia
55 km (34 miles) SW of Fredericksburg, Virginia
64 km (39 miles) NW of RICHMOND, Virginia
82 km (50 miles) NNE of Farmville, Virginia
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 10.9 km (6.8 miles); depth +/- 7.4 km (4.6 miles)
Parameters NST=390, Nph=390, Dmin=57.9 km, Rmss=1.17 sec, Gp= 47°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=6
Source
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event ID usc0005ild
  • Did you feel it? Report shaking and damage at your location. You can also view a map displaying accumulated data from your report and others.

2011 August 23 17:51:03 UTC

Versión en Español

Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Magnitude 5.9
Date-Time
Location 37.975°N, 77.969°W
Depth 1 km (~0.6 mile) (poorly constrained)
Region VIRGINIA
Distances 45 km (27 miles) E of Charlottesville, Virginia
55 km (34 miles) SW of Fredericksburg, Virginia
64 km (39 miles) NW of RICHMOND, Virginia
82 km (50 miles) NNE of Farmville, Virginia
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 10.9 km (6.8 miles); depth +/- 7.4 km (4.6 miles)
Parameters NST=390, Nph=390, Dmin=57.9 km, Rmss=1.17 sec, Gp= 47°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=6
Source
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event ID usc0005ild
  • Did you feel it? Report shaking and damage at your location. You can also view a map displaying accumulated data from your report and others.



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