A five point nine earthquake rattled most of the north east portion of the United States at approximately 1:50 pm Eastern time today. The epicenter occurred approximately 27 miles east of Charlottesville, Virginia. The shocks had a far-reaching range, causing tremors here in Johnson County, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Martha's Vineyard, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio and down as far as Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
According to the Associated Press, the quake hit near Mineral, Virginia, approximately 80 miles south of Washington, DC. The earthquake occurred just point six miles below the surface and last up to 45 seconds. The earthquake did not occur along a fault line, but in the middle of a tectonic plate. This is one of the largest quakes in quite a while, said Lucy Jones, seismologist with the United States Geological Survey. Jones was interviewed by telephone with reporters from CNN. According to Jones, significant aftershocks can occur, especially given the fact that the depth of the quake was close to the surface. Jones explained that damage to water systems and loss of electricity could occur with a quake of this magnitude. Virginia has had 25 reported earthquakes since it became a state. According to Karen Fischer, a seismologist with Brown University, the crust under the East Coast is considerably firmer and colder than what is found on the West Coast. This would allow the aftershocks to travel and be felt hundreds of miles away.
Brian Walter, son of Paula and Phil Walter of Mountain City, lives in Winchester, Virginia, approximately 100 miles from the epicenter. I thought the hot water heater blew up, said Brian, It felt like a jack hammer was shaking the house for about 10 seconds. On a local level, Joe Hill, who lives off Route 67 on Harbin Drive, reported vibrations that last approximately 10 seconds. It felt just like a vibration, said Hill, The thermometer and pictures in the bathroom began to rattle. Hill reported that even the commode and an ash tray in the bathroom began to shake. Cell service in the area of the quake appears to have been initially affected.
The earthquake rattled the book shelves at the Johnson County Library. They were just rocking and rollings, said Linda Icenhour. Luckily, there has been report of any damage to the library.
As of press time, there have no reports of damage on a local level.