Biggest Earthquake to hit Virginia in 110 Years - 5.8
2011-08-23 0:00

From: dailymail.co.uk



The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck in Virginia and was felt in New York and Washington D.C. today was a rare event for the east coast.

But the shaking was believed to be so widespread because the tremors of the quake were shallow at between one and four miles deep.

Itís the strongest quake to hit the Virginia area since 1897 - and resulted in buildings such as the Capitol and Pentagon being evacuated.

The quakeís severity was íhighly unusualí, one Brown University professor said, although it was in an area known for smaller quakes and it spread because of accommodating terrain.

íThis is the largest earthquake by far that I am aware of occurring there in recent history,í seismology professor Karen Fisher said.

The wide spread of the shockwaves was common for the east coast - which is largely due to the difference in the terrain, research seismologist Peggy Hellweg said in California.

í(Californiaís) ground is all of this chopped-up stuff - like a pile of marbles,í she said, which means that the waves from a quake donít spread out that far.

But in eastern America, íwhat youíve got there is gorgeous bedrock (and) the waves propagate beautifully.í

In addition, there is a difference in plate tectonics because the west coast is over the boundary between the North American and the Pacific.

She said in the East, íThereís no driving engine in terms of the two plates sliding past each other - so thatís why itís much more unusual.í



Small earthquakes have been happening in central Virginia since at least the 1770s, reported the U.S. Geological Survey.

Quakes in central and eastern parts of the U.S. are less frequent than those in the west but are normally felt over a larger region.

Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains can be felt over an area up to ten times larger than one of a similar strength in the west.

An earthquake of the 5.5 level can often be felt as far as 300 miles from where it happened and cause damaged up to 25 miles away.

Quakes happen on faults within bedrock that are usually miles deep, reported the U.S. Geological Survey.

Bedrock beneath Virginia came together as continents collided to create a super-continent up to 500 million years ago.

This was what raised the Appalachian Mountains and the bedrock rifted apart to form northeastern America and Europe.

The nearest plate boundaries from the central Virginia seismic zone are in the centre of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

But few shakes in the seismic zone can be connected to named faults because many are deeply buried and undetected.

Therefore the best guide to earthquake hazards in this seismic zone is actually the earthquakes themselves.

íThereíll be an earthquake in New York soon,í seismologist said in February

A top seismologist warned in February that New York City was due for a big earthquake, following the last big shake of 5.3 in 1884.

Won-Young Kim, of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, said the city gets a big quake around every 100 years.

Magnitude 5 earthquakes would not be expected to take down buildings, but could damage brick buildings and chimneys, scientists predicted.

Seismologist John Armbruster told Metro New York in February that a big earthquake could result in íbillions in damageí and even deaths.

Virginiaís 5.9 shake of 1897 and others

The largest earthquake to originate in Virginia in recent times was a 5.9 in May 1897, with the epicentre in Giles County.

An earlier tremor four weeks before had already caused damage in the area.

The shock was felt in Georgia, Pennsylvania and in Indiana and Kentucky - covering an area of around 725,000 sq km.

Virginia has suffered more than 160 earthquakes in 30 years - but only a sixth were actually felt.

The largest damaging earthquake in the seismic zone was a 4.8 in 1875. The biggest was 5.9 in 1897, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Last October a 2.4 hit near Ashland and a 2.4 struck north of Richmond, but there were no injuries or damages.

Source: dailymail.co.uk




Related Articles


Latest News from our Front Page

Professor: Reason Itself Is A White Male Construct
2015-07-04 3:55
A philosophy and religion professor at Syracuse University gave an interview to The New York Times Thursday in which he critiqued the notion of pure reason as simply being a “white male Euro-Christian construction.” Prof. John Caputo was being interviewed by fellow philosophy professor George Yancy for the 13th installment of an interview series Yancy conducts with philosophers regarding racial topics. Given its emphasis on first principles ...
The Broken Window Fallacy
2015-07-04 3:48
Youtube description: This short video explains one of the most persistent economic fallacies of our day. Source: youtube.com
Jenji Kohan and the Jewish Hyper-Sexualization of Western Culture
2015-07-04 3:33
As detailed in The Culture of Critique, Freud and his followers regarded anti-Semitism was a universal pathology which had its roots in sexual repression. The theoretical basis for this can be found in Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality where he linked aggression to the frustration of human drives — especially the sex drive. Kevin MacDonald notes that: ...
Confederate History - Dispelling the Myths
2015-07-03 3:28
History books, the media, the school systems, etc abound in falsehoods and inaccuracies of Confederate and Southern history. This fact sheet will help to clarify and dispell some of these rampant inaccuracies. MYTH - The War of 1861 - 1865 was fought over slavery. FACT - Terribly untrue. The North fought the war over money. Plain ...
Gays Rights May Open Door for Pedophile Rights
2015-07-03 3:31
Democrats have attempted to normalize pedophilia as a sexual orientation. A recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage may soon allow pedophiles to argue they are suffering discrimination. ‚ÄúUsing the same tactics used by ‚Äėgay‚Äô rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals,‚ÄĚ writes Jack Minor ...
More News »