Earthquake 5.8 Magnitude, Epicenter in Mineral, Virginia Is Felt in Washington D.C., New York, Much of East Coast

The earthquake that struck the Washington, DC area didn’t cause any major damage, but it sent bricks from a construction site raining down onto cars below in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia — a suburb of Washington D.C. that is about 14 miles west of the U.S. Capitol.

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake was felt from Washington D.C. to New York City Tuesday afternoon. The epicenter of the earthquake, which struck at 1:51 p.m. EDT was located about 80 miles southwest of Washington D.C. and about 40-50 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia. The closest community to the epicenter was Mineral, Virginia. The earthquake epicenter was located about 5 miles south-southwest of Mineral, Virginia at a depth of 3.7 miles.

The most severe damage reported is apparently at Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, where bricks and cinder blocks fell on cars. Tremors were felt throughout New York City office buildings, Boston, and in Concord, New Hampshire. The earthquake was also felt in Ohio, Canada (Toronto), North Carolina (Raleigh, Greensboro, Greenville), and Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh, Reading Philadelphia).

In New York and across much of the East Coast, shaking ground and swaying buildings sent panicked people running for the exits, pouring into streets or diving under desks.

The USGS received over 5,000 responses in the 24 minutes following the quake from people reporting feeling the earthquake (SOURCE: USGS M5.9 — Virginia).

A mild quake was felt shortly before 2 pm. The shaking lasted no more than 30 seconds in downtown Washington D.C. President Barack Obama was already located at Martha’s Vineyard when the earthquake struck.

The streets of downtown Washington D.C. were crowded with thousands of people on Tuesday afternoon as buildings from U.S. Capitol to the White House to the Pentagon were evacuated.

Fire alarms activated throughout the downtown business district in Washington D.C. There were no obvious signs of damage or disruption.

Stones or bricks reported damaged at the National Cathedral.

Aircraft were taking off from JFK shortly after the earthquake.

Capitol police are relying on their radios and not cell phones or landline telephones at this time.

A security perimeter has been setup around the Capitol with concerns about protecting infrastructure.

Two nuclear reactors have been taken offline as a standard operating procedure — no damage reported at the reactors.

Operations were temporarily halted or ground stops occurred at the following airports: New York’s John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, Newark Liberty International, Philadelphia International, Boston Logan, and Washington DC’s Reagan National and Dulles International airports. Check for the latest airport status.


Early damage reports UNCONFIRMED …
Damage inside the U.S. Capitol and water pipes reported broken in the Pentagon.

Two-foot holes somewhere in Union Station, Washington D.C. — witness said they thought a train crashed inside.

In other areas, people thought there was heavy construction started in their buildings


The earth’s crust in the east coast is harder and colder and transmits vibrations much more readily than the earth’s crust in the west coast.

Aftershocks of 4 or 5 magnitude are possible.

View Larger Map
Virginia Earthquake Epicenter Satellite View.

M5.9 Viginia Epicenter August 23 2011 17:51:03 UTC (13:51 EDT)

View Larger Map of Epicenter in Virginia Augusst 23, 2011 …

Information about the Epicenter:
The earthquake epicenter is about 82 miles southwest of Washington D.C.
How far is the Virginia epicenter from the U.S. Capitol? 82 miles

How far was the epicenter of Tuesday’s earthquake from Martha’s Vineyard? About 580 miles.

President Barack Obama was located at Martha’s Vineyard, about 580 miles northeast of the earthquake’s epicenter.

The epicenter is about 4 miles south of Freeman Field (small airport)

The epicenter is about 50 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia.

More info …