A rare, powerful 5.8-magnitude earthquake rattled the eastern third of the United States on Tuesday afternoon, damaging older buildings, shutting down much of the nation’s capital and unnerving tens of millions of people from New England to the Carolinas and was the strongest East Cost Tremor in 67 years. It was cause when a fault ruptured near the small town of Mineral, VA.
Not much damage but Capstones, known as finials, fell from three spires on Washington National Cathedral, and cracks appeared in the flying buttresses on the older east side. “Please pray for the Cathedral as there has been some damage,” the cathedral said in its official Twitter feed.
An inspection turned up cracks “at the very, very top” of the Washington Monument, said National Park Service spokesman Bill Line. The 555-foot-tall stone obelisk will remain closed and “could be closed for an indefinite period of time.”…
My labrador slept through it (so much for animal warnings), a tabletop picture toppled but that was it for my own house. Older homes had some chimneys topple and cracks.
If you’re wondering if your insurance company will cover earthquake damage, it is not covered in most standard policies. Good thing they’re rare here.
See post-earthquake tips below from last year….
Friday, July 16, 2010 at 05:04:47 AM—
An earthquake measuring 3.6 hit the Washington, DC area at around 5:04 am this morning. A smaller aftershock was felt around 10 minutes later. The epicenter was reported 15 km (10 miles) NW of Rockville, Maryland. This was the largest earthquake ever recorded within 30 miles of Washington, DC. The previous record within that time period was a 2.6 magnitude temblor in 1990.
Welcome Home Washington felt the quake in Bethesda, MD, as did residents in No.Virginia. Unlike states like California where earthquakes are common, this was the first earthquake many long time residents in the Washington Metro area have felt. It was enough to rattle the furniture and there was definite rumbling coming from below. WHW immediately thought it was an earthquake because having lived in the DC area our whole lives had never experienced anything like that before. We did consider the possibility of underground blasting for Metro or a gas explosion because of the way it felt it was coming up -unlike a thunderclap, plane, or above-ground explosion.
Police in Washington and in nearby Montgomery County, Md., said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
On the U.S. Geological Survey’s website, people as far away as Pennsylvania and West Virginia reported feeling the quake.
- DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
- Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
- Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
- Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, loadbearing doorway.
- Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
- Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
- DO NOT use the elevators.
- Stay there.
- Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
- Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.
- Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
- Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake
- Do not light a match.
- Do not move about or kick up dust.
- Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
- Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio or television. Listen for the latest emergency information.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls
- Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.
- Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organizations. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Be aware of possible tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. These are also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”). When local authorities issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is on the way. Stay away from the beach.
- Help injured or trapped persons. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance such as infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately.
- Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.
- Inspect the entire length of chimneys for damage. Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire.
- Inspect utilities.
- Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
- Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
- Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.