UPDATE: 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake Hits DC Area, Felt In Rhode Island

The 5.9 magnitude earthquake that happened shortly before 2 p.m. today could be felt along much of the east coast. Did you feel any swaying today?

People across the eastern seaboard felt the ground sway under their feet today after a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Virginia near the D.C. area.

The earthquake was first reported as a 5.8 magnitude quake. Reuters is reporting the earthquake was a 6.0, but according to the United States Geological Society, the quake registered 5.9 with an epicenter 4 miles southwest of Mineral, Va. and 83 miles from Washington D.C.

The effects of the quake stretched north into New England, as buildings across Rhode Island and other New England states experienced the tremors.

The rare east coast earthquake began at 1:51 p.m. today, said Justin Starr, research assistant at the Weston Observatory in Massachusetts, a geophysical research laboratory of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College. He said the epicenter was located 39 miles northwest of Richmond, VA.

"We've been getting calls from people in Boston, Massachusetts," said Starr, though there are reports of the quake being felt all over New England. This isn't unusual reach for a 5.9 magnitude earthquake, he said, but earthquakes in general on the East Coast are unusual.

People felt the shaking across the state. On Sean Walther's blog, usually the home for programming and tech discussions, commenters from Coventry and Providence noted they had felt the quake.

The Providence Journal reports that the State House has been evacuated after the tremors were felt there shortly after 2 p.m. At this time, no government buildings in North Kingstown have been evacuated.

The tremors were even felt here in North Kingstown. Town hall employee Hope Young was reading in the parking lot when she felt her car shake.

"I thought it was another employee messing around with me, shaking my car," said Young. "I looked around and didn't see anyone."

According to Young, the shaking lasted roughly 30 to 40 seconds. It wasn't until she came back into the building that she realized what she had actually felt.

Along with Young, North Kingstown Patch has received correspondence from residents in Wickford and along Dry Bridge and Stony Lane Road who felt the tremors.

SCL August 23, 2011 at 07:56 PM
It rattled doors and windows in our office building in West Greenwich, RI!
Salvatis August 23, 2011 at 08:08 PM
Whole building swayed for about 30 seconds! Fake trees in office were moving, too. That was on Post Road in East Greenwich. Very weird feeling!
Anna S August 23, 2011 at 08:16 PM
i know allot of us in Woonsocket R.I that i have talked to inculdeing me never felt anything from the quake that hit virginia n i had a couple of people calling me a lier bout the quake
Marge August 23, 2011 at 09:04 PM
I was working at museum in Washington DC when the building started shaking. We had to evacuate immediately, all alarms were going off. Folks were evacuated from National monument, I know as I was leaving the city and the park police had the area already cleared.
Elise Burroughs August 24, 2011 at 02:35 AM
We felt the ground roll in an office in West Kingstown and we could see pictures swaying on the wall.


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