Richmond, and the east coast of the United States, is rattled by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake
On this August day in 2011, at 1:15 p.m., the small town of Mineral, north-west of Richmond, VA, became the epicenter of an earthquake that was felt as far away as Canada, Illinois, and Florida. Compared to earthquakes experienced on the west coast of the United States, this was a relatively minor occurrence. Thanks to the fact that the epicenter was located in a very rural part of Virginia, there was no loss of life. Still, nerves were shaken and the routine of the day disrupted as this 5.8 magnitude earthquake, strong for the east coast, rumbled the land for nearly 30 seconds. Two smaller aftershocks followed within a short period of time.
Unlike the west coast, where structures are constructed to withstand earthquakes, buildings in the east are not made to withstand strong jolting for a long period of time. Damage was done to structures in and around the town of Mineral due to this fact, but also to more famous sites, such as the Washington Monument and National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., where millions of dollars in damages was inflicted.
Buildings in several cities were temporarily evacuated, such as the U.S. Capitol Building, White House, and the Pentagon in D.C. and City Hall in New York. Just 12 miles away from Mineral, the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant automatically shut down as a built-in safety precaution.
Life returned to normal for most people along the east coast soon after the excitement and disruption of the earthquake faded, but the experiences of the people in the region and the scars left on damaged buildings served as a reminder of that day in August 2011.