Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Surreal August 2011

August 23, 2011: Mineral, Louisa County, Virginia 5.9 EARTHQUAKE shakes up Washington, D.C. area, Washington Monument Cracked, Washington Cathedral Pinnacles Crashdown.

Damage at the Washington National Cathedral following Louisa County, Virginia earthquake. Photo Credit: Washington National Cathedral, Craig Stapert, photographer

August 25-28, 2011: Hurricane "Irina" Sweeps U.S. East Coast

Earthquake Shakes NYC-DC

An hour before taking the air, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake rattled the East Coast sending shockwaves as far as Boston and North Carolina. The quake's epicenter was in Mineral, Va., in Louisa County, about 90 miles away from DC. The Pentagon and Capitol Building in Washington, DC, were evacuated at 1:51 p.m., shortly after a powerful tremble was felt. Sean spoke with Tom Rockwell, Professor of Geology at San Diego University about the quake at the start of the show. “We experienced a rare earthquake in the Northeast which is rare, but not unprecedented. There have been strong earthquakes that have hit Boston in the past as well as North Carolina along old fault lines. The Midwest and the East have been struck by historical earthquakes and geologic studies do indicate that we have them rarely but when they do happen they can be damaging,” said Rockwell. Rockwell explained that structures built on the West Coast are built to more stringent building codes and are more likely to sustain less damage after an earthquake than those on the East coast. In fact as Sean took the air, reports from the U.S. Capitol Police stated that the Washington Monument may have been damaged with some stones coming loose.

I just happened to miss the 'quake, as I was about 2/3rds of the way through a flight from New York to Florida.

Luckily, the quake preceded the hurricane, thus so far sparing the region the greater damage of a quake occurring afterwards- with the consequential more water saturated soil, of perhaps greatest risk to tall buildings lacking continuous structural support to bedrock.

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