Earthquake shakes east coast
by Staff Writer
CHARLOTTE (WBTV) - An earthquake hit the Virginia region about 1:51 pm. and was felt throughout North Carolina – and as far south as Columbia, SC. A nearly 3.0 magnitude aftershock hit less than an hour later.
The earthquake was centered in Virginia about 34 miles northwest from Richmond and was a 5.9 magnitude. (Original reports put it at 5.8 strength)
The Pentagon was evacuated just afterward and the US Capitol was cleared. A DC fire department spokesman says there are numerous injuries as a result of an earthquake that struck near the nation's capital, but so far there are no reports of serious injuries or deaths.
A 2.8 magnitude aftershock hit the same area at the same spot at 2:46 pm, officials said.
In the WBTV building near downtown Charlotte, the earthquake shook the building and desks in the newsroom for nearly 10 seconds.
A nurse in Mercy Hospital in Charlotte told a WBTV anchor that the multi-story building shook noticeably.
Dozens upon dozens of reports from throughout the region of Charlotte were called into the WBTV newsroom.
Today's earthquake matches the magnitude of the strongest earthquake on record in Virginia which happened in the western part of the state back in 1897. The strongest on record in NC is 5.2 (near Waynesville, 1916) and the strongest on record in SC is 7.3 (Charleston, 1886)
Here are details of the earthquake from the NSGS:
This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
5.8 (Preliminary magnitude — update expected within 15 minutes)
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 17:51:03 UTC
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 01:51:03 PM at epicenter
6 km (3.7 miles) set by location program
15 km (9 miles) S (179°) from Mineral, VA
18 km (12 miles) SSE (154°) from Louisa, VA
26 km (16 miles) ENE (58°) from Columbia, VA
37 km (23 miles) E (97°) from Lake Monticule, VA
54 km (34 miles) NW (314°) from Richmond, VA
139 km (87 miles) SW (214°) from Washington, DC
NST= 17, Nph= 17, Dmin=59.5 km, Rmss=0.33 sec, Gp=173°,
M-type="moment" magnitude from initial P wave (tsuboi method) (Mi/Mwp), Version=1
"I live up in Taylorsville, NC and ... was reading a report when I felt my house moving. WBTV might want to check out with earthquake center," Marthy Matheson wrote in to WBTV.
The quake sent hundreds of people spilling into the street a block from the White House, with other buildings evacuated in North Carolina and tremors felt as far away as New York City.
People in Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama also reported feeling the earthquake.
"In Memphis, we have several people reporting they felt the quake," said Tracey Rogers, News Director at WMC-TV in Memphis. "All were in tall buildings."
The Virginia area has had only 25 earthquakes since it became a state, CNN reported.
The quake also put a halt to a tennis tournament on the Yale University campus. The stadium was evacuated and spectators felt three waves of shaking, the Associated Press reported.