Breaking: 5.8 Earthquake Strikes Washington, DC (Updates: Three National Cathedral pinnacle stones fall)
August 23, 2011 - 10:59 am
Fox is reporting that a 5.8 magnitude quake was felt in DC moments ago, and just as Trace Gallagher went into an explanation of deep versus shallow quakes, a live video shot of the Capitol jolted. Fox also reported that the Capitol itself was evacuated, and the Pentagon is also being evacuated. The quake was apparently felt as far north as New York City. More as it develops.
More: A 3.6 quake struck the nation’s capital just over a year ago.
Update: Today’s quake has now been upgraded to a 6.0. It was centered on Mineral, VA and was 3.7 miles deep.
Update: All federal buildings in DC are being evacuated, but there are no reports yet of major damage or casualties. The quake was also felt in Boston, MA.
Update: It was also felt as far south as North Carolina.
Update: JFK airport has apparently been shut down. The USGS officially rates the quake at 5.9.
Update: There was understandable panic at the Pentagon, as many there interpreted the quake as another attack on their work place.
The Pentagon has been evacuated, CNN’s Barbara Starr reports. “When the building began shaking rather violently, hundreds of people began streaming out,” she said, because many people thought that the building was under attack. Starr was standing in the Pentagon’s press office when the roof started to shake.
Twitter traffic suggests the quake was felt all over the east coast.
In Philadelphia, HunterPence3 tweeted, “Wow Earthquake just shook the entire locker room!”
In Cleveland, “tribeinsider” wrote “I’m no expert but i think we just had an earthquake here.”
And even in Toronto, tweets said that the shaking could be felt for minutes.
Update: Fox just reported that there is concern that the Washington Monument may be “tilting.”
Update: Some minor damage reported around Richmnond, VA.
There were no immediate reports of damage as buildings shook and were cleared throughout Richmond and other cities in Virginia, but within minutes, Richmond police began receiving calls about possible property damage. Those calls included a possible stairwell collapse along North First Street downtown, a possible wall collapse along East Broad Street in the city’s East End and a possible wall collapse at a structure along Hioaks Road in South Richmond.
William Harper, an employee with the town of Mineral in Louisa County, reported “some building damage” at the municipal offices.
Update: No damage reported at either, but two nuclear plants near the epicenter have been taken offline.
Update: Some good news, the Pentagon was not evacuated after all, and has been safety cleared.
Update: The USGS has downgraded the quake to 5.8.
Update: The quake was felt in Baltimore, but there has been no damage reported.
Update: The NY subway system is “unaffected.”
Update: How long before President Obama blames the economy on today’s earthquake — before he returns from vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, or after?
Update: The twitter stream for the quake is #earthquake. And traffic on twitter has slowed to a low crawl.
Update: So far, there are still no reports of casualties or major damage. And there is no threat of a tsunami.
Update: Josh Trevino on Facebook: “Sorry about the earthquake, DC. That was just Rick Perry getting off his horse.” #wishidthoughtofthat.
Update: The National Cathedral has lost three of its four pinnacle stones.