Maryland & DC Earthquake: That Was Fun!

Cynthia Dermody
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earthquake monumentI can just imagine what folks from California or Haiti would think of the reactions from Washington D.C. area residents who experienced an earthquake early this morning that made it to a whopping 3.6 on the Richter scale.You wanna feel a real earthquake, huh? huh? Come here. We'll show you a real earthquake.

To put in into perspective, the devastating Haiti earthquake in January measured a catastrophic 7. There were three in the last decade in California, the lowest of which measured 5.9. The 1990s saw 19! with 1992 being a particularly active year. You'd be hard pressed to find anything under the mid-5s going back 300 years in California's earthquake history.

But earthquakes are definitely not the kind of thing you want to try to one-up another area on. Just look at the havoc it caused and continues to cause in Haiti. Residents of Maryland and Virginia who felt the earthquake, er, tremor rumble through the Washington D.C. area at 5 a.m. this morning are probably grateful it was mild, but many found it exciting, too. It's not every day that the earth's continental plates shift to a noticeable extent in these here parts and you get to appreciate a powerful natural phenomenon in a safe and non-threatening way.

The reaction to the quake from people who reported it was way more dramatic than the event itself. More than 6,700 people logged on to the U.S. Geological Survey emergency website, and hundreds called emergency services. What did they feel?

"The whole house shook."

"It felt like the earth was churning. It was kind cool!"

“Everything on the shelves in the garage was shaking."

“It sounded like a deep rumble."

Earthquakes are not rare in the northeast, and everywhere, it's just that we don't often feel them. For instance, I discovered at Columbia University's earthquake tracker site that Canada experienced a 5 magnitude in the last six months. There have been numerous 1s and 2s scattered throughout the northeast in the last six months as well.

Not as much as a fallen branch was reported in the Washington area quake. Even President Obama said he didn't feel a thing.

Have you ever experienced an earthquake?

 

Image via moonlightbulb/Flickr

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