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Earthquake in Virginia

Quake map

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit Virginia at about 1:51 pm (Eastern).

I am in Maryland, just outside the beltway, and felt something like an earthquake about five minutes ago. The house started to shake, then settled, then shook again. Quite startling. I opened the front door the same time a neighbor did. She had felt the same thing.

The above quake was more than 90 miles away. I wonder how bad it is there, considering the eastern U.S. rarely experiences quakes and has made no preparations for such a thing.

For updates:

Update: The comments illustrate the difference between a quake in the eastern U.S. versus the western U.S. In the west the quakes are almost always localized, rarely felt far from the epicenter. In the east however the tremors can travel far distances. Thus, we have people from as far south as Georgia and as far north as Connecticut (and Canada!) and as far west as Ohio (and Chicago!) reporting the tremors.

Update 2: This quake appears to tie the record for the largest earthquake in Virginia history.

So far all news reports are merely rehashing the information on the USGS website. Your comments are actually providing more information than the press!

Update 3: As far as I can tell from all reports, the quake has produced little if any damage anywhere. The worst consequence appears to be some overreaction in some quarters (government offices evacuated in Washington, DC and New York). I have also heard from a friend who works in the capital. His words, “Talk about people freaking out! The Hill is shut down big time.”

Update 4: Check out the devastation in Washington, DC.

Update 5: The USGS has revised its summary of the quake, calling it 5.8 magnitude with the epicenter 3.7 miles deep, not .7 miles deep as their earlier estimate stated. You can find their geological assessment of the quake here.


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  • papa cow

    better be prepin up people no bull shits about to get very london like here in the states

  • Lisa H

    My coworkers and I felt our medical building shake in Hickory, NC. It has been felt in all the surrounding counties.

  • We'regood

    I’m in Central VA – and we’re good here. It was weird!

  • Pam Owens

    We felt the tremors here in North Carolina.

  • carol

    i live in the southern mid section of new york state, Owego, and felt VA’s quake about 12 minutes ago!!! Mild tremor

  • sheila deery

    I am in Harleysville, PA, norhtwest of Philadelphia, and felt the house shake!

  • Dan D

    Felt it in central NJ as well.

  • Elizabeth0

    live about 45 min from Richmond and it wasn’t too bad, just extremely startling! I haven’t felt an earth quake since I was about 7, and I’m 17 now.

  • Pittsburgh Steeler Fan

    Right outside of Pittsburgh PA and we felt the aftershock that lasted about 4 mins.

  • Setzer

    papa cow says:
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    “better be prepin up people no bull shits about to get very london like here in the states”


  • April H

    I thought I felt my house shake a little bit.. I live in Kingsport, Tennessee..

  • Sue

    Just felt it here in Brooklyn, New York. My building shook for about 3 or 4 minutes.

  • Lynne

    Felt up here in CT as well!

  • TRid

    It sent tremors to jersey i live about 30 minutes from new york city and my whole house just shook nothing bad but i never experienced anything like that before it was startling it happened around 2:05

  • Kyle

    Felt it in Cincinnati, OH. 4th floor hangling lights were swinging.

  • Shaky

    Just felt it in Durham NC at 1:52

  • Northeast GA

    Felt it in Gainesville, GA

  • Ariel

    We are in gastonia NC and felt a portion of our house shake then settle-
    It scared my mother and i Very badly- is there a good chance we could have a quake here?
    Please someone anser this…. i hope all is well in virginia..

  • Marty

    The houses shook here in Baltimore, and many of the neighbors came outside to talk about it. It woke up one man.

  • Sandra Smyth

    We felt it in SE VA in Smithfield…..wierd. Like a giant kicked the house.

  • Jester

    Earthquake felt in Hartville Ohio.

  • Mark

    Felt it in Chalfont, PA (north of Philadelphia)

  • M Dexter

    I llive in Central Virginia and though yes, we experienced a dramatic shaking (decor falling from the walls, windows rattling, and the likes) but nothing severe where I’m located. I’ve already spoken with several people who work in Richmond and they haven’t seen any lasting damage, just small stuff. It was really just more unnerving than anything, I’m used to hurricanes and the like, not random earthquakes.

  • Mel

    Strange thing is that several people in my office felt something too a few mins ago and we’re all the way in CHICAGO!

  • Dave

    We felt near Erie ,Pa for nearly 5 min

  • Marty

    we felt it here in Charlotte, NC. Lasted about 30 seconds.

  • I just felt the aftershock in Huntington NY

  • Marilee

    Felt in South Carolina!

  • Andrea

    Felt it here in Alexandria, VA.

  • Brina

    I live in northeast Alabama. It didn’t make it this far, but I have family in VA beach area. Scares me since my baby niece is there.

  • Theo

    yup felt it here in richmond… not that bad just some shaking…hell of an alarm clock ehh?

  • Kayla B.

    Felt it in Titusville, PA

  • KT

    My trailer shook for about 10 seconds here on the Delmarva Peninsula. Scared me, my computer, desk, chair, everything was shaking. I have lived here all of my life, and have never felt a earthquake in all of my 19 years.

  • Dan

    Definitely felt it here in Alexandria, VA. No damage that I can see, some stuff was knocked over.

  • Amy

    We felt it here in Beamsville Ontario, Canada

  • Beth

    I’m in Johnstown, PA…we felt it here too! It was just a little tremble for about 30 seconds…

  • David E

    I was at work in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the chair I was sitting in was moving. Everyone in the office was wondering what was going on.

  • KJY9

    Felt here in Batavia, NY. Small after shock for about 30 seconds!

  • Candee Hellberg

    Felt it in Raleigh NC! Was really weird – I thought someone was playing a joke, shaking my cubicle, until others started saying the same thing!

  • Barb P

    Felt it here in Williamsburg Va. The house seemed to feel as if it shifted and the ceiling fan and lights swung a bit. Kinda scary..only used to hurricanes around here.

  • D

    Felt just west of Toronto CANADA

  • the other thing the comments illustrate about the difference between east and west earthquakes is how common they are on the west coast . earthquake like this on west coast = no big deal ^^ . i wonder when the last earthquake of similar magnitude occured in this area ?

  • Here’s some info on earthquakes and Pennsylvania that I found, other states might have something similar.

  • ah the link is your name ^ : yeh looks like there was only three since 1965 that were bigger than magnitude 4.0 , the fact that the scale they have on the map only goes to >4 is a sign that this magnitude is pretty rare out there . on radio they said millions and millions of years ago that area was like san andreas fault line

  • Beth

    Well, here’s hoping we don’t see any of those again!

  • Buckaroo Jack

    I’m in North Potomac, Maryland
    18 miles NW of the Washington Monument.

    Shook My all brick and block 6 bedroom house like a cowbell.

    Drove my German shepherd NUTS!

  • haha on the news they said it was “the strongest quake in living memory” i guess that sort of quantifies it

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