Earthquake Rattles the East Coast; Aftershocks Expected

August 23, 2011; 7:04 PM ET
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An earthquake shook much of the mid-Atlantic region Tuesday afternoon. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake was centered near Mineral, Va., which is located about 39 miles northwest of Richmond, Va., and 87 miles southwest of Washington, D.C.

The preliminary magnitude of the quake was measured at magnitude 5.8 at a depth of around 3.7 miles.

Shaking was reported throughout the mid-Atlantic from Rhode Island and Toronto, Ontario, southward through South Carolina. WBBM radio in Chicago reported shaking as far west as northern Illinois.

The earthquake caused significant damage in some areas, including around Washington, D.C. The National Cathedral was damaged, and ceiling tiles were reported down at the Washington Reagan National Airport.

The video below was posted on YouTube by user pauldonovan08 and shows damage from Tyson's Corner, Va.

The Pentagon was reportedly evacuated as a precaution. The control towers at JFK International Airport in New York City were also evacuated. All flights across the New York City metro area were grounded for a time.

A vacant building in Camden, N.J., reportedly collapsed.

In State College, Pa., location of headquarters, shaking lasted at least 10-15 seconds.

Should this earthquake remain a 5.8 or be upgraded it would be one of the largest earthquakes in Virginia's history. The strongest previously-measured earthquake was a magnitude 5.8 which occurred on June 6, 1897. That earthquake was centered in Giles County, Va.

All of the National Monuments in Washington, D.C., were closed and evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Amtrak train service between Baltimore and Washington D.C. was operating at reduced speeds due to the earthquake Tuesday afternoon. Amtrak crews were working to inspect stations and railroad infrastructure.

The Washington Post quoted the USGS saying that "we would certainly expect aftershocks."

According to the Washington Post, Marcia McNutt, director of the USGS, said, "What the concern is, of course, is that this is a foreshock. If it's a foreshock, then the worse is yet to come."

According to the USGS, this seismic hazard map shows a bull's-eye north and west of Richmond, Va., where the quake was centered this afternoon.'s Jeannette Calle was taping when the earthquake hit here at Headquarters in State College, Pa. See her reaction:


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