24 Aug 2011

Quake felt along East Coast of US

9:58 am on 24 August 2011

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake was felt along the East Coast of the United States from Virginia to Boston on Tuesday.

The US Geological Survey said it was centred in Mineral, Virginia, which is 92 miles southwest of Washington, DC, at a depth of 1km at 1.51pm (EDT).

The quake was initially reported at magnitude 5.9. It lasted about five seconds.

It was the largest earthquake in Virginia since 1897.

The Pentagon and the US Capitol building in Washington were evacuated, as were courthouses in New York City.

Cell phone services were disrupted for an hour after the quake.

Work at the World Trade Center construction site was halted.

The NYSE said trading was not interrupted on the New York Stock Exchange.

Three pinnacles in the central tower of the Washington National Cathedral, have broken off.

The central tower, which is 30 stories high, also suffered minor structural damage.

Damage was also reported at the Ecuador Embassy.

Control towers at John F. Kennedy airport and Newark Liberty airport in New Jersey were evacuated. Flights from these airports have now resumed.

Officials in Dutchess County, north of New York City, reported structural damage to some buildings.

Units at a nuclear power plant in Virginia went off line. There are no reports of damage to the reactors.

The earthquake was felt as far away as Toronto, Canada.

Nine tremors were also recorded on Tuesday in Colorado, near the border of New Mexico, the largest of which was magnitude 5.3.