Where were you during the D.C. earthquake of 2011?


Pentagon staff members evacuated the building Tuesday after an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale rattled the region. (Associated Press photo)

So, here we are: Earthquake-experienced veterans.

As essentially anyone with connectivity to reality now knows, Virginia was rocked with an earthquake this afternoon. Measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale, it led to brief evacuations of the Pentagon, Capitol Hill facilities and other prominent government buildings in the area surrounding Washington, D.C.

Like most other staff members of Marine Corps Times and the Military Times newspaper chain, I was sitting at my desk when the quake struck at 1:51 p.m. If it had lasted another 10 seconds, I may have taken cover under my desk, but I just sat there like a dunce, uncertain what to do.

I’m sure folks on the West Coast laugh at the widespread attention it has received in the media and on social networks today, but the Associated Press reported that it was the strongest earthquake on the East Coast since 1897, when a magnitude-5.9 quake hit Giles County, Va.

Friends and family up and down the East Coast called me afterward — just like everyone else called their own loved ones, apparently. Cell phone networks were down, and I couldn’t contact anyone in return for almost an hour.

Anyway, feel free to share your East Coast earthquake story in the comments section below. Off the top, it’s worth noting that the National Museum of the Marine Corps and other museums in the Washington area were closed for the afternoon.


About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.

1 Comment

  1. My daughter is a Lance Corporal who left yesterday morning for a two year tour at a MCAS in Japan.

    After being up early to see her off, I came home and slept through all the excitment.

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