A 5.8 to 6.0 earthquake has hit the East Coast, just as President Obama was teeing up to go golfing.
From Fox News: An unusually strong magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Virginia Tuesday afternoon, sending tremors along the East Coast of the United States.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was more than three miles deep and struck near Mineral, Va., a city in central Virginia about 83 miles from Washington, D.C. The area is known for its seismic activity, but does not generally produce large earthquakes.
Most of downtown D.C. has since been evacuated, including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and other buildings. Pictures in the Capitol building reportedly fell from the wall and workers panicked and ran to the exits, apparently fearing a 9/11-style attack. Workers were told not to re-enter the buildings.
There have been no reports of serious structural damage or injuries.Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/08/23/magnitude-58-earthquake-hits-virginia-sends-shockwaves-throughout-east-coast/#ixzz1VsiuQlY6
From the Daily Progress of Charlotteville, one of the closest cities to the epicenter: Buildings shook as a 5.9-magnitude earthquake rumbled through Central Virginia, knocking out 911 emergency phone service to Charlottesville and Albemarle County, tying up cell phone service and sending people out of buildings and into the streets.
911 phone service was reinstated within 90 minutes, but emergency response officials asked people to not use their phones or cell phones as service interruptions made communications difficult.
Lee Catlin, Albemarle County spokeswoman, said there were no significant injuries reported in the county, with one person sustaining slight injuries in a fall while leaving a building.
"There's no major damage although there are several instances of downed ceiling tiles, books off shelves, etc., but that is it," Catlin said. "Just some pretty major rocking and rolling."
The earth moved under students' feet as they returned to classes at the University of Virginia. "I was in Clark Hall for my environmental science class and most of the students were there but the teacher wasn't and we were all sitting there talking when the building started shaking," said Lauryn Harris, a second-year student from Arkansas. "At first we thought it was just construction but it kept going for more than a few seconds. We sat around for a few minutes looking at each other like, what are we supposed to do, and then we all ran out of the building."
The quake may be the strongest earthquake in more than 100 years, and could be the strongest reported in the state, officials said. Officials at Dominion Virginia Power reported that they manually shut down the Lake Anna Nuclear Station units, but reported no initial damage. Tom Doran, who was volunteering Tuesday at a thrift shop, said the first shaking felt in Scottsville was relatively minor. "Then it got strong and really started bouncing around," he said. Goods on the shop shelves rattled around. At the Village Square shopping center, a bank alarm sounded. People were "just stunned," Doran said. "They just froze and looked astonished and most of them stepped out and stood out in the open," he said.
From the AP: Obama and many of the nation's leaders were out of town on August vacation when the quake struck at 1:51 p.m. EDT (1751 GMT). The shaking was felt on the Martha's Vineyard golf course as Obama was just starting a round.