August 24, 2011

Virginia's 5.8 Earthquake

My view from Norfolk of aftermath.

By now we're sure you've gotten wind of the 5.8 earthquake that originated in Virginia yesterday. Our house is located in Richmond, approximately 40 miles away from Mineral, VA where the epicenter of the quake was.

I was actually out of town on business and standing in a stock room in the US post office in Norfolk, Virginia when the quake hit. Leaning up against a door jam talking with a customer - the shelves started to shake and belts that were hanging on the wall began to sway back and forth. The lady I was talking to stated, "I believe that was a tremor from an earthquake." It was a strange feeling to say the least. Being in a large industrial building and farther from the center I do not think I got the same feeling or effect that others had gotten. I then had an appointment in downtown Norfolk near the Naval Museum where you can see the crowds were still gathered outside.

Mary was at the house working and once we were finally able to make a cell connection (it seemed like they were down forever) she let me know that Basil had sensed the quake coming before the violent shakes began. He basically began barking at the door and running around the house alerting her. She said the house shook pretty aggressively, causing our chandelier to sway and wall frames to slant - though no major damage arose that we know of. She eventually made her way outside and said all the neighbors were out there chatting about the quake and waiting cautiously for any aftershocks. Her online coworkers in Brooklyn had felt the shakes all the way up in NYC enough to evacuate the buildings up there.

Images we swiped showing outside of the Etsy offices during yesterday's evacuation.

It's been an eventful week so far with the dramatic arrival of our new niece, this earthquake, and what we hear may be a tumultuous weekend ahead as Hurricane Irene makes her way through the East Coast. We're happy everything has turned out in our favor so far and are getting prepped as we brace ourselves for the end of the week.

Did you feel yesterday's earthquake or have you ever been in one before? Also - how are you planning for Hurricane Irene this weekend if she's headed your way?


  1. Sorry that things have been extra stressful, but I'm glad that so far things are working out okay. Good luck with the hurricane (or maybe just heavy rains).

  2. I saw some videos of dogs reacting before the quake...amazing.

    Living in Arizona we've experienced a few quakes. Was looking out my patio doors and saw the pool water begin to slosh back and forth. I couldn't feel the earth shaking, but heard news reports that there was a quake and realized that's why the water was moving. I can't even remember if my dogs reacted.

    Take care thru the hurricane!

  3. I was reading in the NYT yesterday that those of us on the east coast who left our buildings and went outside did the wrong thing.

    When there is an earthquake we are supposed to stay inside and get under the sturdiest piece of furniture we can find and wait until the tremors are over before exiting the building. We exit the building after the tremors to avoid any structural damage the building may have suffered. We don't exit or stand in front of buildings during the tremors because historical data has shown that more people die from falling debris while fleeing buildings during an earthquake. Of course no historical data could have accounted for 9/11 and our reactions to the thought of something similar happening again so it is perfectly understandable why people fled the buildings.

  4. @Camille - we are hoping for heavy rains - we live in an older house and would prefer to just maintain safely throughout the storm! So far things are looking like heavy wind and rain for RVA so we'll hope it stays on that track.

    @Waterrose, that's crazy about the pool - I would have been wondering as well. It was definitely a pretty scary experience being here and seeing the chandelier shake not knowing the cause until it clicked a few moments later.

    @JenSan Tim did the right thing by clinging to a doorway it seems - I ran down to the basement and then outside to chat with the neighbors after the first shakes were complete. Kinda glad we don't have more practice here on the East coast!


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