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WASHINGTON D.C.-AN earthquake struck five miles South Southwest of Mineral, Virginia at 1:51 pm Eastern Time today. It originated at a depth of 3.7 miles. At a magnitude of 5.8, the quake was the largest quake ever recorded in that area and was felt along much of the East Coast.
People in the urban areas, rushed for exits, poured into the streets or took refuge under desks. The tremor caused buildings in the urban areas to sway, and also knocked out power to the North Anna Nuclear plant. David McIntyre, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman said that the quake shut down the automatic system at the plant causing two nuclear power generators to quit producing power.
Elsewhere, in Washington, the shaker caused the evacuation of the Pentagon, White House and the Capitol. Monuments were also closed and all flights were put on hold. Fox News began broadcasting shortly after the quake saying there were reports of the Washington Monument had suffered damage and was leaning to one side. Reports after, found those reports to have no merit.
The earthquake was felt as far south as Charleston and to the north as far as Martha’s Vineyard. It slowed down the rail service throughout the area as Amtrak immediately began operating at reduced speed until all tracks could be inspected for damage. The earthquake was felt by 12 million people throughout the region.
Earthquakes are unusual for this area of the United States. Another unusual earthquake struck Southern Colorado on Monday at 11:46 pm Mountain time. This one prior to the quake on the east coast, was the largest in that region in 40 years. It toppled chimneys, cracked walls and caused rock slides all along New Mexico’s northern border. In some instances walls and roofs have been reported as collapsed. It measured a magnitude of 5.3 and was generated at a depth of 2.5 miles.
The Colorado region isn’t unknown for its shakers, and most earthquakes occurring there are very small and most are not noticed by the population. USGS states that there is not much fault action in the area. But, during this event, there were several fore and aftershocks generated, all in the same general area.