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Earthquake Centered in Virginia Rocks US East Coast

38.0N 77.9W

August 23rd, 2011 Category: Earthquakes, Fires

USA and Canada - August 15th, 2011

The East Coast of the USA was rocked by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake Tuesday, shaking buildings in many cities, delaying flights and trains and sending thousands of frightened workers into the streets, although there have been no reports of major damage or injuries

The earthquake was centered in about 4 miles southwest of Mineral, Virginia, near Richmond, Virginia, and about 80 miles south of Washington, D.C. Its effects were strongest in the Mid-Atlantic region, although it was felt from as far north as Ottawa, Canada, to North Carolina, in southern USA. This image shows part of the eastern seaboard, including most of Virginia.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that at the epicenter, the quake had a very shallow depth of 0.6 mile. It hit at about 1:51 p.m. ET and lasted 45 seconds, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS has warned of the possibility of aftershocks.

Earthquakes of magnitude 5.5 to 6 can cause damage to buildings and other structures, especially if shallow. The U.S. East Coast does not normally feel quakes of this strength. However, the shallower a quake is, the more intense it is felt on the surface, and the potential for damage is greater.

Also visible in this image of some of the areas affected by the earthquake is a fire burning in the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia (visible in full image). The blaze has been burning since the 4th of August.

 

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