An earthquake centered near Louisa, Va., rattled nerves from Washington, D.C. to New York City at 1:51 pm EDT today. Registering 5.9, the U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was a half mile deep. The White House shook as did most of the East Coast including Martha’s Vineyard, where President Obama was starting yet another round of golf.
There were no immediate reports of injuries. At Reagan National Airport outside Washington, ceiling tiles fell during a few seconds of shaking. At the Pentagon in northern Virginia, the building was shaking. People ran into the corridors of the government’s largest building and as the shaking continued.
The quake came a day after an earthquake in Colorado toppled groceries off shelves and caused minor damage to homes in the southern part of the state and in northern New Mexico.
Social media site Twitter lit up with reports of the earthquake from people using the site up and down the U.S. eastern seaboard.
John Gurlach, air traffic controller at the Morgantown Municipal Airport was in a 40-foot-tall tower when the earth trembled. "There were two of us looking at each other saying, `What’s that?’" he said, even as a commuter plane was landing. "It was noticeably shaking. It felt like a B-52 unloading." Immediately, the phone rang from the nearest airport in Clarksburg, and a computer began spitting out green strips of paper – alerts from other airports in New York and Washington issuing ground stops "due to earthquake."