August 23, 2011

5.8 Earthquake in Virginia

I took Little Sister #2 into town to get ice earlier. We had put a CD into the player, but it jammed and the radio automatically came on. NPR was reporting on this 5.8 earthquake that happened today at 1:51PM and was felt from South Carolina to Massachusetts. President Obama and FEMA have issued statements saying that there was no major infrastructure damage. But what damage there is has been a shock to those near the epicenter, about 38 miles NW of Richmond.

While "little" earthquakes are fairly common in New England, anything over a 3.0-ish isn't. The USGS summary page for this particular earthquake says that "The largest damaging earthquake (magnitude 4.8) in the [Central Virginia] seismic zone occurred in 1875."


Central VA Seismic Zone

Another interesting tid-bit, is that while Virginia is riddled with faults, many of them remain unknown and of those which are known and named, most
 "are poorly located at earthquake depths." (See above reference.) 
The NPR web report is located here (they've been keeping it updated): 

Among the building sustaining damage is the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. (Press Release: I thought that interesting. I don't have a particular reason, it just stuck out. 


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