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5.8 Earthquake Hits East Coast of the US 614

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the god-punishing-congress-for-budget dept.
At 1:51 p.m. EDT a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Virginia (map of reported tremors). Reports indicate it was felt along most of the east coast (my monitor and floor definitely wobbled a bit down here in Raleigh NC) with reported evacuations of government buildings at least in DC. QuantumPion noted that the North Anna Nuclear Generating Station is located only a few miles from the epicenter, and the NRC has confirmed the plant automatically shut down with no apparent damage. For folks who like that sort of thing, there is a hashtag on Twitter, and the WSJ has a page with live updates on the situation.
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5.8 Earthquake Hits East Coast of the US

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  • by Altus (1034)

    Felt it here, third floor of a building. Nothing more here than a gentle sway back and forth 3-4 times.

    • Alexandria Va, felt/sounded like loud washing machine @ first, place got a little wobbly. Didnt seem to get too bad (at least nothing in the area was damaged).

      Apparently there was some serious damage out in the Tysons Corner area though.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      I'm guessing you're in the Back Bay. It's an old landfill, and it sloshes when the bedrock moves even a little. It's like living on a seismometer.

      • by flink (18449)

        That's where I am, right across from the Prudential Plaza. Definitely felt it here.

    • by mrops (927562)

      Felt it here too. Fentle, heard air conditioning ducts crackling once/twice.

    • Felt it in Buffalo, 15-20 seconds swaying, 5 stories up.
  • by The Dawn Of Time (2115350) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @02:12PM (#37181606)

    How did this make Slashdot already? Nothing makes this site for weeks.

  • by displague (4438) * <.slashdot. .at. .displague.com.> on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @02:13PM (#37181610) Homepage Journal

    I felt it in Southern New Jersey. Everyone was dumb founded for a little while - "Whose shaking the cubicle wall?" Then everyone ended up outside with no cell service. After a few minutes we all hit the web and that was also saturated. Natural disaster practice test.

    • Use google voice or skype to make calls, that seems a lot more reliable-- and a lot "friendlier" to the cell towers.

      • by Jeng (926980)

        Texts will almost always go though. They will go though when the phone lines are jammed and the data connections are flooded.

        • by chill (34294)

          And yet many people here in D.C. got "maximum number of retries exceeded" messages from their Verizon Blackberries.

          It took about 15 minutes for service to get restored to the point data and SMS was available. Slightly longer for voice.

          Sprint worked, though. For both customers.

    • Felt it in Connecticut too. 3 out of 6 people in the room felt it, other did not.
      Twitter already had news of this (reporting epicenter as Virginia) within the next 3 minutes, so we all went back to work. Mostly Manhattanites in skyscrapers tweeting.
      Bloomberg, WSJ (blog) and Washington Post had news updated in the next few minutes in that order too.
    • by mapkinase (958129)

      The first place to go is definitely Twitter. Major news media caught up 5-10 min later.

      The diversity of locations was mapped out in min or two.

  • I work 3rd shift & was woken up with stuff falling from the shelves. First earthquake I actually felt.
    • by b0bby (201198)

      I'm 10 miles north of the DC Beltway - shook the building for a good 10-15 seconds plus some aftershocks. Knocked some frames off my bookshelf & sloshed about half an inch of water out of my fish tank. A coworker was driving & she thought her car mas going to explode until she saw the van next to her shaking also. Pretty strong - I grew up around here & never felt anything like it.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      I felt it all the way in Austin, TX!

      No, wait, I'm just drunk. Nevermind!

  • I was sitting at my desk and everything swayed a little bit...

  • desk started moving under my feet. not the first time so no big deal

    all the chicks that work in the building here that is full of fashion and modeling companies got scared and evacuated right away

  • by pctainto (325762) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @02:14PM (#37181638) Homepage
  • Felt it here in Vermont, got our building swaying.
    • by sremick (91371)

      Hello to another Vermonter, felt it here too. Not all felt it though.

    • Yup—felt it here in Burlington, Vermont as well. We're on the third floor of an old mill building, so really felt the swaying back-and-forth.
  • by wiredog (43288) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @02:14PM (#37181648) Journal

    Earthquakes in the eastern US are felt over a much wider area than those in the western US. It's one big plate, so an earthquake anywhere is felt all across it. Like hitting a pipe with a hammer.

    In the west the plates are broken up by many faults, which absorb the energy release.

  • The whole house shook for a good minute or more. Now I don't have to wonder what an earthquake feels like.

    Where I am now, the cell and land lines phones are out, but I still have cable Internet access - thank you Comcast (oh the irony)

    BTW Mineral is not Northern VA
  • Got reports from a friend that works at Penn State that his building was shaking before the news reports started popping up.
    • by nomadic (141991)
      Generally the earthquake precedes the news reports about the earthquake.
      • by vlm (69642)

        Generally the earthquake precedes the news reports about the earthquake.

        Not always. TV / phones go at the speed of light, and S and P waves move at the speed of sound in that material, so TV / phones win if you're far enough away. The japanese blow huge amounts of money on early warning systems that do work, assuming you're not directly over the epicenter. There was a recent /. post on that very topic...

  • i called our director of IT who was a mile away in another building and he said i was crazy. so i hit up twitter and everyone is saying how NYC just had an earthquake. didn't even bother to check the news since twitter is as close to real time as you can get

  • They just upgraded it to 5.9. Felt it here on the 39th floor of my company's building. At first I thougth I was having a panic attack or something, then I realized everyone else was trying to figure out what was going on (the building is tall enough to catch wind sometimes, so it isn't abnormal to feel a brief shake). We ran to the window (engineers know better than to hide in doorways!) and verified that the water in the pool on top of the building next door was shimmying, indicating some definite motion w
  • by paleo2002 (1079697) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @02:21PM (#37181818)
    I live in northern NJ and didn't even know there was a quake until I saw it on the web. As a geology teacher I'm really disappointed because I've never actually experienced an earthquake directly. Maybe I'll get lucky and there'll be some strong aftershocks. That would rock!
    • by scubamage (727538)
      I'm assuming there will be some aftershocks - probably nothing too harsh though. Honestly it was the first time I ever felt a quake... kind of surprised that it was less violent. Kind of felt like standing on a train going over uneven track. I feel a touch queasy.
    • by chispito (1870390)

      That would rock!

      Yes, by definition.

  • Felt it here at work. We're on the third floor of an old brick factory building. Certainly heard a few items upstairs hit the floor. Everyone went outside and proceeded to not have cell service. Text was fine though.

  • Hmmm... first indication I got was a post at 10:55AM (time shows my Pacific time) on Google+ from one Scott Beale

    Note that my workstation is locked into NTP (drift of 5.0ms) but in any case I'd expect that Google's servers are too.

  • The USGS site has it occurring a few minutes earlier - 1:51pm - while here we say 1:58pm. Not sure where the slashdot article gets its time from, or what the discrepancy comes from...
  • by QuantumPion (805098) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @02:25PM (#37181914)

    The epicenter of the earthquake was apparently just a few miles away from North Anna Nuclear Power Plant [wikipedia.org].

    • by demonbug (309515)

      The epicenter of the earthquake was apparently just a few miles away from North Anna Nuclear Power Plant [wikipedia.org].

      Nice. Apparently it was just rated as having a 1/22,000 chance or so of suffering a core breach from seismic activity. I wonder what they were basing it on - a 5.9 is pretty damn big for that area.

      • No, you are misinterpreting that statement. The NRC said that there was a 1/22,000 chance of a large enough earthquake occurring that could possibly cause core damage:

        The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at North Anna was 1 in 22,727, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[9][10]

        Note core damage does not equal core breech. Furthermore just because a large enough earthquake to possibly cause core da

  • by DriedClexler (814907) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @02:27PM (#37181970)

    I just flew in to Detroit on business, so I didn't feel it, but you can see it pretty clearly impacted the area near downtown. It shook a few houses to the ground, it left immense cracks in the streets, and I can already see looting going on.

    God, some areas look like a third-world country now! I hope the other places handled it better.

  • I felt it in Baltimore. I could hear the glassware in the lab shaking. At first I thought it was from a nearby construction site.
  • Felt it here in Toronto on the 32nd floor - building started swaying a fair bit. Thought I had too much blood in my alcohol system for a second there...
  • I'm in a holding pattern above the airport in Philadelphia because all of the major airports up and down this coast have been "briefly" shut down for runway inspections. I hope the delay is briefer than the duration of my fuel reserve.

  • by Tteddo (543485)
    Felt in here in Maine. My house was moving with the beat on the radio and I was like WTF??? Then I realized.
  • Our office is a small building on a concrete slab. We NEVER feel much in the way of movement. When this thing hit, I ran outside. The water storage reservoirs were making ominous oil-canning sounds on an industrial scale. Significant rumbling with some side to side movement.

    Reminder for those of you in the East Coast: Something made those Appalachian mountains. It may not be as active as the West coast, but it would be wise not to ignore it.

  • by GReaToaK_2000 (217386) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @02:39PM (#37182172)

    USGS earthquake was a 5.8 about 3.7 miles down.

    S & P downgraded it to 4.5.

  • Definitely felt the whole building moving. Very new feeling for me.

    I'm sure it's no biggie for West Coast folks, but that's the first time I felt the actual ground under me move.

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