Virginia Seismic Zone

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The Virginia Seismic Zone in the U.S. state of Virginia covers about 8,000 km2 (~3,000 mi2) in the Piedmont province. Earthquakes in the state are irregular and rarely reach over 4.5 in magnitude.

List of earthquakes[edit]

Date Magnitude Location Comments
1774-02-21February 21, 1774 4.5 Near Petersburg, Prince George County
1833-08-27August 27, 1833 4.5 Central Virginia
1852-04-02April 2, 1852 4.3 Near Buckingham Central Virginia, about 35 miles south of Charlottesville
1852-04-29April 29, 1852 4.9 Near Wytheville, Wythe County
1875-12-22December 22–23, 1875 4.5 Central Virginia Near the James River waterfront in Goochland and Powhatan Counties, and in Louisa County
1897-05-03May 3, 1897 4.3 near Radford Southwest Virginia
1897-05-31May 31, 1897 5.8[1] or 5.9[2] Giles County Largest earthquake in intensity; large areal extent with aftershocks continuing through June 6, 1897[3]
1898-02-05February 5, 1898 unknown Pulaski
1907-02-11February 11, 1907 unknown Near Arvonia, Buckingham County
1918-04-09April 9–10, 1918 unknown Luray, Page County
1919-09-05September 5–6, 1919 unknown Near Front Royal, Warren County
1929-12-25December 25–26, 1929 unknown Charlottesville, Albemarle County
1959-04-23April 23, 1959 3.8 Giles County strongest at Eggleston and Pembroke[4]
1975-04-11April 11, 1975 unknown Southwest Virginia, near Blacksburg, Montgomery County
2003-12-09December 9, 2003 15:59 EST 4.5 37.599°N, 77.932°W in the foothills about 30 miles (48 km) west of Richmond
2008-05-06May 6, 2008 13:30 EDT 1.9 38.80°N, 77.15°W epicenter 1 mile SW Annandale[5]
2009-05-16May 16, 2009 04:08 EDT 3.0 37.25°N, 80.00°W in Roanoke County, just outside the City of Roanoke[6]
2009-07-06July 6, 2009 23:59:52 EDT 2.3 37.64°N, 77.64°W about 1 km SW of Short Pump; Magnitude 2.3[7]
2010-07-16July 16, 2010 05:18 EDT 3.4 39.187°N, 77.286°W between Germantown and Gaithersburg, Maryland;[8]
2011-08-23 August 23, 2011 13:51 EDT[9] 5.8 37.936°N, 77.933°W Louisa County, 5 miles SSW of Mineral and 37 miles NW of Richmond

2003 earthquakes[edit]

On December 9, 2003 at 3:59 pm EST (20:59 UTC), a magnitude 4.5 event occurred near Farmville about 30 miles (48 km) west of Richmond, and was felt strongly across the state. Tremors were reported in North Carolina, Washington DC, and suburban Maryland, eastern West Virginia, southern Pennsylvania, and portions of the Delmarva Peninsula. This event was located at 37.728° N, 78.087° W, at a depth of less than 5 km (3.1 mi) and may have occurred due to rupture along the Lakeside fault.[10]

The December earthquake was preceded by a magnitude 3.8 event on May 5, 2003 whose epicenter was located approximately 40 miles NNE near Cartersville.[11]

2011 earthquake[edit]

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported that a magnitude 5.8 Mw earthquake hit Virginia on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, at 17:51:04 UTC (1:51 pm Eastern Daylight Time). The quake occurred at an approximate depth of 3.7 miles and was centered in Louisa County (location at 37.936°N, 77.933°W), 5 miles SSW of Mineral, Virginia and 37 miles NW of Richmond, Virginia's capital.[9] Shaking was felt from Atlanta, Georgia to Illinois to Detroit, Michigan to Toronto, Ontario to New Brunswick.[12][13] Many Washington, DC buildings saw precautionary evacuations.[14][15] The earthquake caused an estimated $70 million in damage in Louisa County and forced Louisa County High School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School to close for the year as well as rendered about a dozen homes unlivable.[16][17] Other buildings were damaged as far away as Prince George's County, Maryland. Three decorative pinnacles at Washington National Cathedral fell.[18] The Washington Monument was closed due to cracks in the top section.

A 4.2 aftershock occurred in central Virginia at approximately 8:05 pm EDT, August 23, 2011.

Another 4.5 magnitude was detected just south of Mineral on August 25, 2011 at 1:07:50 EDT. [19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SEISMICITY OF THE UNITED STATES, 1568–1989 (REVISED) by Carl W. Stover and Jerry L. Coffman (USGS Professional Paper 1527, 1993, pages 376–378); Virginia Tech Geology Dept. (5.8)". Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Historic Earthquakes - USGS". earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Historic Earthquakes – Giles County Virginia"
  4. ^ "Virginia's Largest Earthquakes". Virginia Tech. December 10, 2003. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Small Earthquake Felt in D.C. and Northern Virginia". dcist. May 6, 2008. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ Fifer, Jordan; Lerone Graham, Jorge Valencia (May 17, 2009). "Morning earthquake in Roanoke rattles the valley". The Roanoke Times. 
  7. ^ "Short Pump Earthquake: July 6, 2009". Virginia Tech Seismological Observatory. August 3, 2009. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  8. ^ McPhate, Mike (July 16, 2010). "Mild earthquake felt across region". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Magnitude 5.8 – VIRGINIA". Earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Virginia earthquake not a fluke in the seismically active Southeast". ScienceBlog. December 2003. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Magnitude 3.9 VIRGINIA". Earthquake Hazards Program. U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center: World Data Center for Seismology, Denver. Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  12. ^ http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/dyfi/events/se/082311a/us/se082311a_ciim_zoomout.pdf
  13. ^ "M5.8 – Virginia". Earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Quake rocks Washington area, felt on East Coast". Associated Press (AP). August 23, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Strong earthquake hits Canada, U.S. East Coast". Vancouver Sun. August 23, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Louisa damage estimate $70 million". Richmond Times Dispatch. August 30, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Earthquake damage to Louisa County schools close to $60M". ABC 7 News. August 30, 2011. 
  18. ^ Read the FAQs » (August 23, 2011). "Washington National Cathedral : Earthquake at 6 Months". Dcquake.nationalcathedral.org. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  19. ^ [1][dead link]

Coordinates: 37°43′41″N 78°05′13″W / 37.728°N 78.087°W / 37.728; -78.087