East Coast Earthquake Cracks Washington Monument

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Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The East Coast got a West Coast surprise yesterday afternoon. A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Virginia just before 2pm EDT, catching people in 22 states off guard. Windows and nerves rattled from Georgia all the way into Canada.

The temblor was centered in Mineral, VA, 38 miles northwest of Richmond and 84 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. The Richmond police have had reports of damage such as collapsed walls and broken windows. In the nation’s capitol, the Pentagon and many monuments were evacuated. The Washington Monument has been closed indefinitely due to a crack formed during the quake.

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Rare as it is, but not unexpected by the USGS, this quake is the largest since before WWII. The biggest historical earthquake was in 1875 and is estimated to have been 4.8 in magnitude.

The USGS website says that although quakes are not as frequent in the Eastern United States, they are felt over an area up to ten times larger than that of quakes in California. People in Cleveland, Boston, and even Toronto all felt yesterday’s quake.

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