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Thursday, August 25, 2011

VA-Based Earthquake with 5.9 Magnitude Rocks Northeast

VA-Based Earthquake with 5.9 Magnitude Rocks Northeast
Tremors felt from NC to RI and as far west as Ohio; Fairfielders report vibration; Town Hall evacuated briefly.
At approximately 1:51pm today, a 5.9-magnitude earthquake, with an epicenter based in Richmond, VA, rocked the Northeast. It was felt as far south as North Carolina, as far north as Rhode Island and as far west as Ohio. There was no immediate report of serious damage, injuries or fatalities according to major television news reports.

In Fairfield, Police Sgt. Sue Lussier said that the department had received a few calls from concerned town residents who felt some vibration. She also said that Town Hall had been briefly evacuated, but that by 3 p.m., workers had already returned to their offices. To her knowledge, transportation services, e.g. Metro North railroad, had not been interrupted.

On a wider scope, tremors were felt on the upper levels of hi-rise buildings in Stamford, according to News Channel 12. WPIX-TV broadcast live footage of office workers spilling out into the streets of Midtown New York, and using their cellphones to contact loved ones. It was also reported that workers in Federal buildings, including City Hall, in lower and midtown New York had been evacuated and that a NYPD Aviation Unit was conducting a visual inspection of major bridges. Jersey City put their emergency evacuation plan into effect. Anxieties were heightened with the approaching 10th anniversary of 9/11.

With regard to transportation in the Northeast, air traffic at Newark and JFK Airports was grounded. Train service between South New Jersey and Philadelphia was also suspended.

Two nuclear reactors were taken offline in Richmond, VA. Locally, Indian Point nuclear facility continued to operate at full capacity, with no damage reported, though an inspection was ongoing.
Though no tsunami-like conditions are expected to result on major waterways in the affected region, aftershocks are anticipated, according to My 9 News (TV).

The last time an earthquake of this magnitude was felt in Virginia was in 1897.

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