Earthquake on the East Coast?: My Firsthand Experience
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Earthquake on the East Coast?: My Firsthand Experience

A 5.9 earthquake reported around 2:00 pm in Mineral, Virginia and could be felt in Richmond, Virginia all the way down through North Carolina, up through Washington, DC, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and even Ohio, New York, and Toronto, Canada!

A 5.9 earthquake reported around 2:00 pm with an epicenter in Mineral, Virginia and could be felt in Richmond, Virginia all the way down through North Carolina, up through Washington, DC, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and even Ohio, New York, and Toronto, Canada! Last significant earthquake of 5.0 or higher magnitude reported in the region was back in 1897. A small quake occurred in the 1990s of only about a 2.0 magnitude on the Richter scale, and many other very small quakes, but nothing comparable to one of this magnitude.

According to Fox News, "The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was 3.7 miles deep and struck near Mineral, Va., a city 83 miles from Washington, D.C."

I could feel it here in Martinsburg, West Virginia (in the Eastern Panhandle), a couple hundred miles north of the epicenter. Many of us who live on the East Coast, like me, have never felt the tremors of an earthquake. Most of us didn't even know what it was!

I was on the computer and felt the house begin to shake. I ran to look out the back window with a quizzical look on my face wondering what the heck was going on. I wondered if there was a strange horrible wind blowing? I wondered if there was some construction going on nearby... Was there an excavation for a new home or some other digging or construction going on? I saw nothing. The trees were not blowing, there were no heavy vehicles to be seen. Luckily, I had no damage in my own home. The shaking lasted about 30 to 45 seconds as far as I recall. I don't recall hearing any rumbling as some have reported, but it all happened so quickly and there was a great deal of confusion at the same time, so it's hard to say.

I received some text messages from a few friends asking if I felt the earthquake, and that's when it sunk in: We just had an earthquake on the East Coast! I turned on the news to see it originally reported as a 5.8 magnitude, with it being increased to a 5.9 magnitude quake. Trains and metro systems in affected cities are not running to full capacity at this time while they wait to examine the tracks and such to be sure they are safe for use. Some are reported to be running much more slowly than normal at only 15 miles per hour. Bridges, tunnels, buildings, and other structures are being inspected. Airports temporarily put flights on hold.

Some have reported thinking it was a fire drill as they were driving and saw evacuations. Fire bells are still ringing in some areas.

Cellphones were not working moments after the quake. Text messages seem to have gone through just fine, and normal cellphone operations were back to normal. Perhaps this was due to people jamming the system and trying to make an extreme number of calls simultaneously. Some buildings have shown signs of damage with cement falling, but overall there wasn't a significant amount of damage in the surrounding areas.

A few handfuls of hospitals and other businesses have been evacuated. Some damage has been reported. Pictures falling off the walls, vases, dishes, and other objects falling and breaking, fires starting... Now we wait to see if there are any aftershocks.


personal experience and news reports

Fox News online coverage

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Comments (9)

Lol, proof positive that I am completely oblivious. People have called me and asked me if I felt the earthquake. My response was, "I was at the store, I don't know.". Lol!

I endured an Earthquake while living in California in late 1967. My husband called home and asked when I wanted to leave Ca. and I said yesterday. Thank you for your account of this event.Promoted

We had one out our way too but we did not experience any motion.

Only time I felt an earthquake I was in New Zealand eating breakfast.. the milk on my cereal started to move! It wasnt a bad quake.

I have never felt like this.. Good article..

I am glad that you are alright, you did a fabulous job of relating the event from a personal perspective.

Returning with a well deserved vote up.

Coming back to re read your experience.

interesting insight, Bethany. Voted up by a California earthquake veteran....