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calendar   Wednesday - August 24, 2011

I thought it was me

Earthquake hits VA, rocks US East Coast




I must be becoming an isolationist or something. Yesterday was another day I spent doing things, without the TV or radio on, and no surfing on the internet. It seems sometimes that I spend my life online, so I’m taking a break from it. So when my wife came home and said “Hey, did you feel the earthquake?” I was a bit taken aback. Yes, I’d felt something yesterday at about 10 to 2, but I hadn’t realized it was an earthquake. No. I had, but I’d dismissed that thought. It didn’t feel like an earthquake ... Mr. Experience there, having been in exactly 1 minor trembler before.

I don’t remember enough of my geology to say whether it was P-waves or Rayleigh waves that struck here, but what we did get lasted about 5-10 seconds. It felt like the chair I was in was starting to tip backwards, in several pulses. My first thought was that it was me; was I having a heart attack or a stroke or some inner ear issue? Not that I’m given to any of those, it’s just that this earthquake was silent. After that I thought, hey maybe this is an earthquake, I hope the concrete slab floors we’re on can take it. But then I dismissed those thoughts entirely; this is New Jersey and we don’t have earthquakes. Guess I should have listened to my Inner Californian.

I was at work in the grocery store the night that the last real earthquake struck this general area, when the local Ramapo Fault had a bit of a slip back in the early 80s. That quake may not have lasted as long as this one, but the sensation was completely different. And it was unbelievably loud. It sounded like a helicopter the size of a freight train was landing on the roof. The floors were jumping up and down. No question that it was an earthquake; I knew so instantly. I remember that I was in the back of the store by the meat counter, and that I took about 5 steps and was out the front door. And that place was a full size grocery store, not some little bodega.

This time around we got a bit of rolling of the ground instead of vertical shaking. Half a dozen or so pulses that felt like the floor was tipping away a bit. Then it was over. No buildings collapsed, no windows shattered, nothing fell off the shelves or countertops here. It didn’t make a sound. So I promptly forgot about it and went back to whatever I was doing ... oh yeah, still mucking about with spreadsheets on the PC.

Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake Hits Virginia, Sends Shockwaves Throughout East Coast

An unusually strong magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck central Virginia Tuesday afternoon and sent tremors along the East Coast, which prompted office buildings from Washington D.C. to New York to be evacuated.

There were no immediate reports of injury or serious structural damage.

The earthquake struck near Mineral, Va., more than three miles below sea level, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Mineral is town 83 miles from D.C. and has been known for its seismic activity, but seldom produces a substantial earthquake.

At Reagan National Airport outside Washington, ceiling tiles fell during a few seconds of shaking. Authorities put all flights on hold.

A spokesman for Washington National Cathedral said at least three of the four pinnacles on the central tower have fallen off and the central tower appears to be leaning.

....

New York also felt tremors from the earthquake.

Buildings in New York City shook briefly and the FBI building was evacuated. Flights resumed at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Airport, where control towers were previously evacuated. Evacuations were demanded as north as Canada.

Federal officials say two nuclear reactors were taken offline near quake site in Virginia; there was no damage reported. Indian Point, a power plant in New York, said on Twitter that there are no issues at the facility.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said in a statement that it is monitoring the situation and in “close contact” with federal and state partners.

The East Coast gets earthquakes, but usually smaller ones and is less prepared than California or Alaska for shaking.

When the quake struck, President Obama was just starting a round of golf on Martha’s Vineyard, where shocks were also felt. He led a conference call with emergency chiefs later in the afternoon.

The ground quaked as far south as Charleston, SC, and north of New Hampshire, experts said. The epicenter was estimated to be a little less than four miles below the Earth’s surface. Concern over aftershocks remained, although officials assured the public that the chance of any devastating temblors was slim.

In Manhattan, where the quake registered just over 2 on the Richter, business came to an abrupt halt.

It figures, right? Whenever anything happens, Obama is playing golf. Because that’s about all he seems to do.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/24/2011 at 12:14 PM   
Filed Under: • Daily LifeNature •  
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