Update: Aftershocks Follow 5.8 Magnitude Quake

Three aftershocks recorded Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Update - 8:43 p.m. -- Hours after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook Northern Virginia, an aftershock measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale struck the area again, according to the United States Geological Survey.

This aftershock, which occurred around 8:04 p.m., according to USGS, was the third recorded today. The first measured 2.8 at 2:46 p.m., followed by another measuring 2.2 at 3:20 p.m.

All three aftershocks, as well as the initial earthquake, occurred near Mineral, Va., about 35 miles northwest of Richmond and 84 miles southwest of Washington, D.C.

The first two aftershocks were measured to be less than one mile underground; the third was about 4.8 miles underground, USGS data says.


Original Story

Dozens of patrons at the Panera in West Springfield hid under tables  when shaking rocked the building at about 1:51 p.m.

The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed a 5.8 magnitude earthquake started in Mineral, Va. and has been felt as far north as Boston and beyond, and as far south as Atlanta.

"I felt the floor shaking, then I heard a crack and I thought the ceiling was going to come down," said Erin Gilbert, a teacher eating in the Panera in West Springfield.

"I felt the floor rumbling like the Metro was going underneath and I said, 'Get under the table!'" said Erin's friend, Sue.

So far, there are only limited infrastructure damages in Fairfax County, according to Fairfax County officials.

However, voters who were heading to the polls today for the Virginia primary elections while experts check buildings for any structural damage or loose building materials. In Alexandria City, at one location while poll workers evacuated.

All Ft. Belvoir buuildings were evacuated. "We felt a big bump," said Col. Mark Moffatt, deputy garrison commander.  "The response at military installations like this is to clear the buildings until we figure out what the issue is."

"Was that my car?  I thought it was my car.  I didn't think they had earthquakes in Virginia, said Lily Thompson at Ft. Belvoir.

"I've lived in California through many earthquakes, and I never ever thought there would be one in Virginia," said Jen Thompson, a Gainesville resident at the .

Customers at the West Springfield Panera immediately grabbed their cell phones, but couldn't get service.  According to twitter reports, cell phone service was largely out in the area for about an hour, though many people were able to send text messages.

Transportation Impacted

Federal employees were sent home early, and heavy traffic was reported along I-66, the Beltway and in downtown Washington.

VRE and Amtrak trains are running at reduced speeds, and afternoon service may be delayed. Check the VRE, Amtrak and WMATA sites for further details.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are checking Virginia bridges. They ask drivers to report any road infrastructure problems to 1-800-FOR-ROAD.

Minor Damage at Some Schools

At 4 p.m., Fairfax County Public Schools said they'd received reports of earthquake damage at some schools.  In an email, FCPS media specialist Mary Shaw said those schools will be inspected today. "If this assessment determines that a more extensive structural damage assessment is needed, those buildings will be closed until that is completed," she wrote.  All schools will be inspected this week. 

What To Do

Fairfax County provided these tips for safety during an earthquake.  Aftershocks are normal. Two aftershocks were reported—one at about 2:45 p.m. and another one around 4 p.m. Fairfax County residents were not able to feel either aftershock.

Here are FEMA's guidelines for what to do after an earthquake.

After any natural event, fly-by-night operators may come into affected areas, looking to make a quick buck off of residents who aren't educated about consumer protections. The Commonwealth of Virginia has a consumer protection division that will investigate these things. More information on protecting yourself from scammers after a disaster is available online from the Virginia Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Brian Seth Hymer August 23, 2011 at 06:35 PM
I felt this all the way in maine, my house felt like a boat in the water.
Jennifer Souther August 23, 2011 at 07:01 PM
The USCG Jamal Building on Half Street in DC has been evacuated, with reports of gas smells. The "exit" signs are hanging by the wires, according to my dad. (That's where he works).
Burkegirl August 23, 2011 at 07:15 PM
I was in the Burke Centre Library. Scarry when stuff swayed and the noise was loud. We all evacuated in an orderly fashion to the parking lot. Came home and my house is a mess. Stuff fell off mantel, from china closet, all medicine cabinets are spilled out and closet shelf stuff is laying on the floor. Wow!!!
Elayne August 23, 2011 at 08:19 PM
I ran outside and looked to the heavens and said " Lord I know you are mad at us and we have let you down, people havent been nice to one another, but not today please..It was really scary! earth quacks are scary and take lives ..I'm happy people were not hurt.
Garytheprinter August 23, 2011 at 08:29 PM
Sounds like you house was badly built . You better have the county inspect it before another little shake happens. My friends cabin in Mineral, Virginia stood strong and so did all her other friends homes. In Lorton, Virginia the building shook but nothing fell of the walls and nothing spilled. Good American Labor..no shortcuts.
Garytheprinter August 23, 2011 at 08:33 PM
I ran outside and looked to the heavens and said, " Lord don't let a tree fall over on me". Always stand in the front doorway of your building. Be it home or office. It's the safest place to stand. You have the options of staying put or running out.
Beth "Thehoneymoonlady" August 23, 2011 at 11:18 PM
I was at the 7/11 on Gallows Road in Vienna/Dunn Loring in line. About 7 workmen were lined up in front of me. All of sudden it was like a camera out of focus, as shelves started to sway and things flew off the shelves. The workmen yelled Earthquake and all ran out of the store. The two clerks, just stood there in total stunned silence behind the counter. I just quietly stood there, bent down, as the phone rang, their boss calling to see what happened at the store. None of the men came back in The lights NEVER went out, I have lived here my entire life in Fairfax County and never have had an earthquake. I thought something had fallen over on the roof, a truck hit the building, or a major explosion happened up the road at the Metro construction in Tysons Corner, anything but an earthquake. At our office, 2 out on vacation, 1 person on sick leave, 1 person was driving on rt 66 coming back from lunch, and me at the 7/11, so no one was in the office when all this happened which was good. Our office fared worse then the 7/11. Pictures, clocks, off the walls, flat screen tv off the wall, things off desks, with many items far from where they had been. Many in our office park left to go home or did not want to come back inside. I went about picking things up, and since we have clients all over the USA, it was back to work as usual. NOW, as this has registered, am a bit numb. Now if I had been in a high rise, or driving on a bridge, would not be so calm.
tanya broadbent August 24, 2011 at 12:15 AM
Please visit earthquake.usgs.gov and post your information on the "Did you feel it?" page. They need data on what you felt (or, surprisingly enough, did NOT feel) when the quake hit. Thanks! tanya
Makeda August 24, 2011 at 07:10 AM
I felt it in Queens New York while I was sleeping. I jolted out of My sleep and I thought that my building was going to tip over. All I could do is pray with my family to God for protection and mercey, also to thank him for all he gave us in this life. I am sooo greatful that this earthquake wasn't as bad as it could of been. THANK THE LORD ALMIGHTY!!
Tony August 24, 2011 at 12:08 PM
BUY the limited edition commemorative Earthquake t-shirt HERE: http://www.ebay.com/itm/SURVIVED-Virginia-Earthquake-t-shirt-VA-MD-DC-PA-/120767949215?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item61cc7f95e3 before they're sold out!!
Mauricio Serna August 24, 2011 at 02:18 PM
We hope all of you are safe and calm after the earthquake, we thought we could make it a memorable one. you can get your t-shirts now at http://www.abbadesigncompany.com/#VAEarthquaketshirt
Molly Field August 24, 2011 at 02:23 PM
I was at the Burke Target with my kids. I first thought a VRE train had derailed because I *heard* something first; then the floor started to rumble and stuff started falling off the shelves. My son tripped and fell down. Then the shelves themselves started to sway and the floor looked like it was undulating. The lights stayed on, but the ceiling tiles looked like it was warbling. All this happened for about 8-10 seconds. By the time I started to think that what was happening was truly serious and started to look for a door jamb (which in Target there are none...), it was over. The shoppers were mostly calm and actively curious, but nothing stops Target faithful, they calmly wheeled their carts to the checkouts and decided that once it was calm again, it was time to go home... but not without their stuff. I wanted to leave, but my kids knew I wasn't coming back for the Nerf guns we had in our cart, so they prevailed. The biggest irony, people were still coming in too... it was surreal. I wonder what will shake some people... they seemed truly unfazed, like this happens all the time. (Incidentally, I do recall the 3.9 & 4.3 quakes in 2003, but this tops them both.) I was just glad we were ok.When I got home, hanged paintings and mirrors were off kilter, things had fallen off shelves and my dog was very relieved to see us. We are very lucky.
Kristin Blankenship August 25, 2011 at 11:33 AM
Did anyone feel the aftershock last night? It woke me about 1am Thursday morning.
Burkegirl August 25, 2011 at 01:53 PM
Yes. My husband was up and he felt it.
Nancy Ehlke August 25, 2011 at 02:32 PM
I was voting in the Primary. I had just picked up my ballot and began to mark it when the table started shaking. The entire room started moving as if it was on an escalator gone berserk.
Lisa K. Brown August 25, 2011 at 02:33 PM
It woke me up too, but I thought maybe I was just dreaming or something. Glad to know I wasn't crazy!


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