The Tech Herald

D.C. area gets rude awakening Friday morning

by Steve Ragan - Jul 16 2010, 16:04

DC area gets rude awakening Friday morning. (IMG: USGS)

Residents in the DC area were rattled awake on Friday morning by a 3.6 magnitude earthquake centered 10 miles north west of Rockville, Maryland. While there have been no reports of injury or property damage, the quake caused a good deal of confusion and sparked a flood of 911 calls.

The Associated Press has reported that the quake was even felt near the White House, as well as many areas north of the capital's downtown area.

At 5:04 a.m. EDT, the 3.6 quake rumbled throughout D.C. and was felt as far away as Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia, according to data relayed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which also said it received almost 7,000 reports of the quake within two hours, most of which were centered in D.C. and Maryland.

While earthquakes in the region are considered infrequent, but not all that uncommon, the USGS explained that most of the enormous region from the Rockies to the Atlantic can go years without an earthquake large enough to be felt, and several U.S. states have never reported a damaging earthquake. The earthquakes that do occur strike anywhere at irregular intervals.

In related news, about four hours before D.C. began trembling, a pair of 5.0 magnitude quakes rocked Indonesia, and a 4.5 magnitude quake was recorded in Alaska.

However, those quakes were each some distance from areas of dense population, making it likely that they failed to cause any significant damage or injury despite their apparent strengths.

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