Wilmington residents feel Virginia earthquake - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Wilmington residents feel Virginia earthquake

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Dr. Rocks at Cape Fear Community College Dr. Rocks at Cape Fear Community College

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Residents in Wilmington felt a shake Tuesday afternoon just before 2:00.

[See how many people felt the tremors]

An earthquake occurred in Virginia, about 34 miles from Richmond at 1:51 p.m. The quake was felt across the East Coast.

At Cape Fear Community College, some students got a real life geology lesson while in class with Professor Phil Garwood, or Dr. Rocks as he's known around CFCC.

Dr. Rocks teaches geology classes at CFCC, which has the state's largest geology program.

Dr. Rocks and his students were in Building S, at the corner of Walnut and Front Streets, when the quake hit. The classroom is on the fourth floor of the six story building.

"Here on the 4th floor, we felt it vibrate," said Dr. Rocks. "I knew right away it was an earthquake because I had studied them for years. People on the 6th floor actually felt the building swaying."

"It was baffling for the first few seconds and then, when we realized what it was, it was exciting," said J.W. Burriss, a student who was in the classroom.

Dr. Rocks said it's rare for the east coast to see a quake of this magnitude…but he's not surprised by the distance it traveled. Because it was a shallow quake, it created surface waves, which stretched across the East Coast.

According to officials, preliminary reports show a 5.8 magnitude at the epicenter, which is halfway between Richmond and Charlottesville.

The Pentagon was being evacuated at 2 p.m. and the US Capitol was also being cleared.

The depth of the earthquake is estimated to be about 6 km.

Here are details of the earthquake from the NSGS:

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.


5.8 (Preliminary magnitude — update expected within 15 minutes)


  • Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 17:51:03 UTC
  • Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 01:51:03 PM at epicenter


37.875°N, 77.908°W


6 km (3.7 miles) set by location program




  • 15 km (9 miles) S (179°) from Mineral, VA
  • 18 km (12 miles) SSE (154°) from Louisa, VA
  • 26 km (16 miles) ENE (58°) from Columbia, VA
  • 37 km (23 miles) E (97°) from Lake Monticule, VA
  • 54 km (34 miles) NW (314°) from Richmond, VA
  • 139 km (87 miles) SW (214°) from Washington, DC

Location Uncertainty

Error estimate not available


NST= 17, Nph= 17, Dmin=59.5 km, Rmss=0.33 sec, Gp=173°,
M-type="moment" magnitude from initial P wave (tsuboi method) (Mi/Mwp), Version=1


You can track the earthquake on the WECT Weather App, available in the Android Market or the iTunes App store.

A 2.8 and 2.2 magnitude aftershock occurred after the initial shock within a few miles of the original epicenter.

More rumbling may be felt as there is a potential for aftershocks, according to Dr. Rocks.

Dr. Rocks said there's been an increase in seismic activity across the world and people should take note.

"It's an exciting time for geologists and scientists," said Dr. Rocks. "But if you can get homeowners insurance - do it now."

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