Thursday, August 25, 2011

East Coast Shakes from Va.-Centered Earthquake

The U.S. East Coast shook from an unusually strong earthquake for the area on Aug. 23, 2011, centered near Mineral, Va., about 40 miles from Richmond.

The U.S. Geological Survey rated the quake's magnitude as 5.8. The earthquake lasted about 45 seconds. It was centered five miles southwest of Mineral, Va., a small town in the central part of the state, located in Louisa County. Mineral is about 39 miles from Richmond and 83 miles southwest of Washington, D.C.

The depth of the quake was 3.7 miles, according to USGS, the federal government agency that monitors earthquakes in the United States. The quake occurred at about 1:53 p.m. EDT and was felt up and down the East Coast. Reports of the quake came from as far north as Ottawa, Canada, to as far south as North Carolina. The quake's rumblings even extended west to Alabama and Ohio.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS instrument captured a cloud-free, visible-light image of Virginia in November 2004, used here to describe the earthquake. MODIS instruments fly aboard NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites.

USA Today noted that the shallow depth of the quake and the east coast's geology enabled it to be felt over a large distance than might otherwise have been expected.

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