Quakes Hit Virginia, Colorado

by Daniel Foster

UPDATE: Jonathan Martin reports that two reactors at the North Anna power station, in the same Virginia county as the earthquake’s epicenter, have been safely shut down with no damage reported.

The east coast quake measured a 5.9 magnitude and was epicentered in Mineral, Va., 100 miles southwest of Washington D.C. The White House, Pentagon, and Capitol have reportedly been evacuated.

And it might not be over:

“What the concern is, of course, is that this is a foreshock. If it’s a foreshock, then the worse is yet to come.”

She said the energy from earthquakes on the East Coast does not attenuate as quickly as it does on the West Coast, and thus even a relatively modest tremor can shake a very broad [area].

“When something like this happen, everyone has to remember, more than half of the states in the U.S. are considered earthquake country. When something like this happens, remember what to do in the case of a seismic event. Duck, get under something sturdy like a desk or a doorway, get away from falling glass. Make sure that you are not in the way of falling objects like pictures, bookshelves, books, anything that’s not firmly connected the wall.”

The Virginia quake came within instants a day after [I misread original report] of the strongest seismic event in Colorado in the last century:

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 and centered about nine miles from the city of Trinidad, hit at 11:46 p.m. local time. It was felt as far away as Greeley, about 350 miles north, and into Kansas and New Mexico, said Julie Dutton, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.

Colorado, with its mix of mountains and plains, sits astride a seismically stable part of the nation where earthquakes are mostly mild and far between. But the area around Trinidad is regularly hit by tiny quakes as a result of a local fault zone, Ms. Dutton said.

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