A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck the East Coast at 1:51 p.m. ET, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake’s epicenter was 4 miles southwest of Mineral, Virginia.
“It’s one of the largest that we’ve had there,” said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones. Aftershocks were a concern. “People should be expecting (them), especially over the next hour or two,” she added.
A 2.8 magnitude aftershock was reported at 2:46 p.m., ET. “The shaking lasted about 30 seconds for us,” reported Santa Clarita native Kerry Rock, who works for a defense contractor in Charlottesville, only 27 miles east of the epicenter. “Sounded like a rocket overhead, but that could be due to being on the basement floor. The funniest part was that, in my facility, we are prepared for tornadoes and terrorist attacks, but earthquakes are ones we weren’t sure what to do. We just left the building to our rally points outside.”
Lindsay Mask, press deputy for Rep. Buck McKeon reported that the quake was “definitely felt in D.C.” and said it was hectic around the Capitol buildings and surrounding city. She added that she was told there were cracks to the Capitol and some damage on the Senate side of the building.
McKeon was not in Washington at the time.
Two reactors at the nuclear plant at Lake Anna, VA tripped when the ground began to shake and emergency generators have kicked in.
The quake was felt in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York City and on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where President Barack Obama is vacationing. Cell phone service has been disrupted sporadically in New York City, Richmond and Charlottesville, and Washington D.C.
There are reports of a large amount of standing water from broken pipes at the Pentagon. Employees thought the earthquake was a bomb and evacuated the building.
According to CNN, traders in the New York Stock Exchange felt the shaking and shouted to each other, “Keep trading!”