Just before 5 p.m. EST, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit the East Coast, according to the Washington Post. The tremors from the earthquake were said to be centered in Delaware, around the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge near Delaware Bay. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says that the earthquake was felt as far west as Washington, D.C., straight up through Southern Connecticut.
Some sources are saying that the earthquake initially measured 4.1, but now the USGS is saying that the measure is firmly 5.1. Dover, Delaware, police say that no injuries or damage have been reported so far.
The USGS says that since 1950, only three earthquakes over 4.0 have hit the East Coast of the United States between Washington, D.C., and New York. Today’s 5.1 would break the record for the strongest earthquake ever in the state of Delaware.
Dale Grant, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey, says that today’s East Coast earthquake was an extremely rare event, and the information is still being gathered.
“We’re just getting the information in now.”
The local CBS affiliate in Philadelphia said that shaking was felt throughout the Delaware Valley. While some said they noticed items on shelves shaking, others said it felt like the whole house was trembling.
Mary Bracken of Yardley, Pennsylvania, said the shaking went on for several seconds.
“I just sat on my bed on the second floor of my house and it shook, house vibrated. My husband felt it in next room too. It was like road construction out front except we aren’t having any road construction”
Dover, Delaware, police said that close to the epicenter, the movement was more dramatic. Dover Police Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman said that he felt the shaking, but everything seems to have returned to normal soon after.
“I live just a few miles south of Dover and my home rattled pretty good and I could hear the rumble as well.”
Richard Ortt, director of the Maryland Geological Survey, says they are still gathering information, but that the earthquake was felt throughout central Maryland, says the Baltimore Sun.
“There’s a lot of data being brought in, and we’ll be analyzing,”
After the last earthquake in the region six years ago, damage to historical buildings was found weeks and months after the event. The Washington Monument was closed for over a year as the tall, thin structure was deemed unsafe.
Ortt says he understands that locals were startled, but being from California, this earthquake didn’t feel like much.
“It was very mild, but I am a native of Los Angeles, CA, so it was unmistakably the feeling of an earthquake. My cats were startled, but only one ran from where he was (he is very anxious).”
The 2011 earthquake on the East Coast (centered in Virginia) was a 5.8 magnitude.