At around 4:02pm, several people in downtown Charlottesville reported an earthquake. It lasted roughly thirty seconds, and a couple of people reported that it seemed stronger than our last two earthquakes, the 09/22/01 and 05/05/03 events. Phones are reporting that all circuits are busy, firetrucks are on the go. Keep an eye on the USGS Earthquake site for confirmation and details, and read the comments for reports from individuals. 4:30pm Update: The USGS lists this at a 4.5, having taken place at 3:59pm, been three miles underground and showing it centered near Columbia, VA (near Fork Union), like our last quake. 4:35pm Update: It was felt from Manassas to Petersburg, and perhaps even as far as Lynchburg. 5:20pm Update: The AP is reporting that this was also felt in Maryland, DC, and North Carolina. No damage or injuries have been reported.

30 thoughts on “Earthquake”

  1. We felt it out at the Charlottesville Airport. A nice pronounced rumble that went on for probably 30 seconds. Very noticeable shaking of the ground, but didn’t knock anything over that I know of.

  2. I felt it too at my home near UVA. I wouldn’t be able to compare it as I didn’t notice the previous earthquakes in the building I was then, but it felt a bit strong for a place like Charlottesville. Not to mention it’s the second time this year, which seems abnormal.

  3. Nothing here down in Blacksburg, of course, save for the small quake of e-mails rushing into my in-box. Way to report, guys. :)

    Now I need to look like I’m paying attention here in class…

  4. I felt it here at work in Belmont. We have reports here from people in Crozet and even in Amherst that it shook the house.

  5. A good 20-30 second rumble here on UVA grounds (Darden). It felt like I was sitting in a car on a bridge and a group of semi trucks went passing by. Nice pronounced up and down movement.

  6. I am 40 miles south of town in Nelson County. It was VERY strong here, It shook the entire house, and caused it to make some horrible groaning noises as it shook.

    Definitly stronger than last time.

  7. Bah, all you guys are too quick. In the time it took me to put all those links in my post, y’all had already posted ’em all individually.

    Well, sorry for the redundancy!

  8. The seismogram from the Virginia Tech Seismological Observatory is also nifty, when their webserver isn’t swamped!

    Hey, it’s pretty speedy from where I sit. ;)

  9. and was 3 miles underground(plus or minus 7 miles).

    If it was located 4 miles aboveground, wouldn’t that make it just a really bad thunderstorm?

  10. Reckon i’ll hafta stack that wood better next time…

    From down Columbia way

    Yer one saddletramp

  11. we were between Esmont and Schuyler and it was more than 90 seconds long and much more scary than the last one, which we didn’t barely notice. I’d say it felt like being on a plank bridge with a conoy of M1 Abrams tanks passing on it at the same time!!!

  12. This was posted here May 5th, 2003: "The USGS confirms the quake, saying it was a 3.9, centered 5 miles east of Columbia (near Fork Union), 3 miles underground, at 12:32pm. "

    Now, 7 months later, another earthquake in the same place, this one stronger. Coincidence? Time to start selling your Columbia real estate?

  13. I work downtown and my window overlooks the Avon st. bridge. As soon as it started I looked and saw no train so I knew it was a quake immediately. I jumped up and looked out the window. What I noticed was that none of the five pedestrians I could see seemed to be reacting at all, even while it was still going on. Two were on the bridge and three were on the ground, including one crossing the railroad bed. Made me wonder if this phenomenon was only actually experienced by people in buildings who could hear the rattle and rumble of the stuff around them. For me it was the creaky metal airconditioning vents in the ceiling which sounded first. Did anyone experience this quake from ground level?

    During last May’s brief quake, which iirc was mistaken for a sonic boom by many until Monday rolled around, I guessed right away was a quake because I happened to be outside barefoot in mud and felt it as much as heard it. But I did also hear it and I heard the house rattle. What did today’s quake sound like from the ground?


  14. During last May’s brief quake, which iirc was mistaken for a sonic boom by many until Monday rolled around

    Nah, people had it figured out. News stations jumped on it, reported it as an earthquake, and all was well. Even the 2001 quake, people figured out pretty quick. (Although you can see from the discussion that there was at least a few hours of uncertainty.) You’d have to go back to the 1998 quake for true denial. WVIR aired two consecutive nights of stories about how it was a sonic boom, without so much as bothering to call the FAA or the airport to ask if any aircraft had flown over Charlottesville in excess of 761mph. Maroons.

  15. there are two types of waves associates with earthquakes…longitudinal (P) and transverse (S) waves. P waves travel the fastest, about 6km/h, and move the earth back and forth. that’s what makes the building you are in shake (imagine holding a pencil vertically by its base, and moving your hand back and forth…that’s what buildings do when hit by P waves). so, when you felt your building start to shake, and you looked outside, the pedestrians didn’t seem to notice the quake, b/c P waves aren’t as noticeable on flat ground. S waves are up and down waves, and travel at about 4km/h. those would be more pronouced on flat ground, but not as much in a building. and since they travel more slowly, when the quake was intially felt, the S waves hadn’t arrived yet.

  16. Ahh maybe it was the ’98 quake I’m half-remembering then… all these earthquakes seem to run together!

  17. Were you in a building or on the ground?

    Now that you mention it, I did notice that the floor seemed unsteady several seconds after the audible rattling stopped. Neat.

  18. i remember that one too. i was walking out my front door on the way to class, and i heard what sounded to me like a loud explosion. a friend of mine who lives 12 miles from the epicenter of yesterday’s quake said he experienced the same thing…loud explosion type sound, then the rumbling started. i don’t recall feeling any ground movement in 98, but i think that’s because that was a weaker (and deeper) quake.

  19. well, I felt it 17 miles south of cville and it was LONGER than 30 seconds. I had never felt a quake before and this one was surprising. what I’m trying to say is with the all things I managed to do while it was still happening, it had to have been at least a miunute if not longer.

  20. … on the ground (in Shadwell) and the noise. My goodness, the noise, like a thousand freight trains a thousand miles a way. Very cool.

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