Earthquake Hits Virginia, East Coast
Details about after tremor will be shared as they are learned.
UPDATED 4:02 p.m.
A long tremor that last several seconds shook Ashburn and the surrounding region at about 1:50 today, Aug. 23. The shaking could be felt at least as far west as Leesburg, as far east as Washington, DC, and as far south as Richmond, according to news reports and witnesses in those areas.
The U.S. Geological Survey rated it a 5.8 magnitude with an epicenter about 4 miles from Mineral, VA, or about 41 miles west of Richmond.
Shortly after the earthquake, George Hetherington left her Ashburn home and headed up to Stone Bridge High School, where students and parents were walking in and out getting ready for school to start next week, and local Republicans were holding a primary. Hetherington was talking to Cheryl Forbes, but the earthquake was just one of many topics.
Both said they first thought it may have just been a blast at the quarry.
"My daughter came in and said there must have been an earthquake," Hetherington explained. "I said, 'Oh no, that was blasting at the quarry."
It was not Hetherington's first earthquake. She lived in Japan in the late '60s and early '70s and experienced higher-magnitude quakes. She was also married to a military man and knows the sound jet engines make. Most earthquakes she's experienced make a similar sound, but did not hear that today, she said.
"I didn't recognize this as an earthquake because there was no sound," she said. "There's usually a heck of a sound."
The trembling that at least one Belmont Greene home experienced was much worse than a normal blast from the quarry; walls shook throughout the home for several seconds. Hetherington said some dishes at her home near Stone Bridge fell.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement that officials are continuing to assess the situation. He enouraged residents to make sure their neighbors are safe.