For approximately 45 seconds on Tuesday afternoon, the East Coast was shaken by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake. And what began with an epicenter in Mineral, Virginia could be felt several hundred miles away in areas of New York to the north and both Carolinas to the south. The earthquake comes as a surprise to East Coast citizens who are already bracing for Hurricane Irene, which is set to hit U.S. soil on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
In the aftermath of such an unexpected event, most areas have reported that their structures are intact and people are okay. The National Park Service, for example, closed the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Old Post Office Tower, but reported no injuries to its many visitors in the capitol. A small cross section of the Washington Reagan National Airport had to be evacuated after several staff noticed a distinct odor of gas in the air, but the concern appeared to be unnecessary.
For an earthquake that managed to cross multiple state lines, officials are pleased to hear that there have been no deaths and only minimal injuries. The District of Columbia reported numerous injuries, but nothing serious. Experts can be sure that if Hurricane Irene touches ground this week, risks of injury and death for a natural disaster will go up. For now, the Mineral earthquake merely served to give the capitol a little non-political shake up.
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