More Than 600 Aftershocks Have Hit Since August Quake

USGS: More than 600 aftershocks have hit since August quake

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By: Kari Pugh
Published: November 03, 2011
Updated: November 03, 2011 – 8:07 AM

There have been more than 600 aftershocks in Virginia since the rare East Coast earthquake that struck on Aug. 23, according to U.S. Geological Survey researchers.

“What we might be looking at is either a new fault or a previously undiscovered one deep within the geologic formations here,” wrote research geologist Mark Carter in a Wednesday night Twitter lecture titled “Did You Feel It? The Virginia Earthquake of August 23, 2011.”

Click here to read the whole lecture.

Not all of the aftershocks following the 5.8 magnitude quake have been strong enough to be recorded on the USGS “Latest Earthquakes” website. But there have been some 40 or more temblors of magnitude 2.0 or higher.

“This earthquake was felt from Florida to Ontario in Canada, and as far west as the Mississippi River,” wrote Mike Blanpied, associate program coordinator for the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program.

Blanpied said the quake was the strongest in Virginia in 114 years, and left behind more than $100 million in damage, including to the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral in D.C. A school in Mineral, near the epicenter, was seriously damaged and the nearby North Anna Nuclear Power Plant remains offline as workers check for damage.

Blanpied said the Virginia quake is significant due to the East Coast’s lack of preparedness for such events, and because the shaking can be felt – and cause damage — for such long distances.

The survey received 150,000 responses to its online “Did You Feel It” questionnaire, the most it has ever received.

“Earthquakes in the East are different. Underneath us is the middle of a tectonic plate, so it’s been very quiet,” Blanpied wrote. “Our geology is very smooth and unfractured, so there’s nothing to stop an earthquake from spreading.”

Despite the damage, and the unnerving aftershocks, Carter wrote that it could have been much worse.

“I’ll leave you with a reminder that we really did dodge a bullet here. The fact that there were no casualties is amazing.”  (Read Full Article)

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