So I traveled almost three-thousand miles from the land of earthquakes to a normally seismic-free region only to find myself within ten miles of today’s 5.8 shaker.
It was felt throughout the South, Northeast and Midwest. Seismic waves carry far this side of the Mississippi. The New Madrid earthquake of 1811 proved that. It rang bells as far away as Washington, DC (known as Washington City at the time).
The weather was beautiful today in the Old Dominion. I had just returned to my client’s office and remarked to some of the staff how this was so much like a day in LA. My words proved prophetic just seconds later – the building shook and people poked their heads up and peered out their office doors. No fear; just disbelief.
My reaction was no different from what I would do at home in a moderate quake – I went about my business, especially since the facility was well-constructed.
After a brief evacuation, everyone was sent home.
I did receive some eyewitness reports through co-workers who contacted family members. Fallen chimneys, foundation damage and broken glass were not unusual as far away as Charlottesville. There are many brick structures out this way, so reports of structural damage do not come as a surprise.
A construction worker told me he experienced the unsettling feeling of an undulating floor on the sixth floor of a building in downtown Richmond.
There is a silver lining to today’s event. Scientists should be able to study the seismic wave transmission and extrapolate the effect of a major quake along the New Madrid fault.
So, what’s next?
How about Hurricane Irene bearing down on me? Richmond and DC are in its possible path.
They say bad things happen in threes.
Maybe the Richmond Spiders will lose to Duke the week after next.