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Earthquake Shakes Northern Virginia
Released: 5/6/2008 3:50:31 PM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Clarice Nassif Ransom 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4299

Note to editors: As more information is received and the data are further analyzed, we may issue updates or clarifications on this event.

A magnitude 1.8 earthquake occurred in northern Virginia at 1:30 pm Eastern Daylight Time.  The epicenter was about 1 mile west-southwest of Annandale, VA and 13 miles west-south-west of Washington, DC. The USGS has received no reports of damage at this time. 

"This earthquake is just large enough to be felt, but not large enough to cause damage," said USGS scientist Bill Leith.

The most recent earthquake recorded in the Northern Virginia area was a magnitude 2.5 earthquake near Manassas, Va., on Sept. 29, 1997.                                                                                     

On Feb. 23, 2005, there was a similar type event in the Baltimore metropolitan area, as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake was felt strongly and widely. There was a series of seismic events in March and April 1993, in Columbia, Maryland, ranging from 0.5 to 2.5 in magnitude.

The largest recorded earthquake centered in Virginia occurred on May 31, 1897 near Giles County.  The magnitude was 5.9 and extended from Lynchburg, VA west to Bluefield, WV and from Giles County south to Bristol, TN.                      

Information on the earthquake history of each U.S. state is available on the Earthquake Hazards Program Web site or contact 303-273-8500.

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