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Did You Feel It?


By David Keeler

The question being asked all along the eastern seaboard Tuesday after a 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia shook homes and buildings throughout the region shortly before 2 p.m. was: “Did you feel it?” Most people did.

Here at the Rocket-Courier office the concrete block building shook and groaned, ceiling lamps swayed back and forth and employees quickly exited the building. The tremor lasted about 10 seconds.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Wendy Gaustad reported that businesses on Main Street experienced the same thing.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 5.9 magnitude quake was centered near Richmond, VA and happened at 1:51 p.m. 

The quake, which was the strongest felt on the east coast since 1944, caused minor damage in Washington, DC where government buildings were evacuated.

PennDOT bridge inspectors in each of the agency's 11 districts announced they would conduct precautionary inspections of bridges around the state.

"We have no reason to believe the Virginia earthquake caused major damage to any state roadways or bridges," said Scott Christie, P.E., PennDOT's Deputy Secretary for Highway Administration. "But to err on the side of caution, we are assessing those bridges that could be susceptible to quake damage."

The first bridges to be inspected were those at least 200-feet or longer and at least 60-feet high.

In Berks County, police closed the Penn Street Bridge in Reading after noticing cracks in the pavement on the bridge approach, but the cracks may have been there before the earthquake. PennDOT inspectors will thoroughly assess the bridge to make sure it was not damaged.

Moments after the quake the Rocket-Courier issued an email bulletin with the news that the region had been hit with a mild earthquake. One of the responses to our bulletin came from former Wyalusing resident Al Minetola who wrote: “Hello from VA. We're about 45 minutes from Richmond and let's just say the earth moved beneath our feet a lot more than I ever care to have it happen again.”


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