Quake Rocks East Coast

Ok, maybe that’s overstating it and I’m sure that my West Coast compadres are laughing it up that this was even a news item. That the LA Times carried the story was certainly intended to give a chuckle to their readers – or it was a slow news day. Nonetheless, the Washington DC area was shaken on Friday morning by a magnitude 3.6 earthquake, waking up many in the area (including my wife, but not me), but doing no damage whatsoever. Mostly described as feeling like a low flying plane or thunderstorm, the rumbler shook the area for a few seconds just after 5 AM local time. While we may never know which minor fault actually caused the quake, the USGS says that there is no chance that the massive release of oil into the Gulf of Mexico had anything to do with it, so no one here should call BP for renumeration.

So why is this quake significant? Maybe it’s not, but consider that this is by far the largest quake felt in Maryland since the US government started tracking them in the early 70’s. The next most serious quake was a 2.7 in 1993 centered right here in my town of Columbia, MD. And consider all the other really major quakes in recent years – most notably Haiti, China and the Indian Ocean tsunami. Are we entering a new era of increased seismic activity? Is the Big One still to come? Indications are that recent events do not portend future calamity and that there is no reason to fear. Nonetheless, you might want to consult the USGS Seismic Hazard Map and prepare accordingly. I’m just saying…

Souces: Washington Post, USGS



1 Response to “Quake Rocks East Coast”

  1. 1 moemaps
    July 22, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Learn more about the science of earthquake prediction (is there such a thing?):

    A Japanese seismologist has developed a ‘donut hole’ theory that suggests smaller earthquakes will occur in a ring leading up to a large quake in the donut hole. Read more here:

    And there is also study of earthquake synchrony, essentially that quakes can set of more quakes in nearby faults:

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