July 16th, 2010
05:29 AM ET

3.6-magnitude quake rattles D.C. area

A 3.6-magnitude earthquake struck near the Gaithersburg, Maryland, area just after 5 a.m. ET Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The center of the quake was about 20 miles northwest of Washington, the USGS said.

"It was really loud, like a plane flying really low. I had never felt anything like it," said Anne Ngunjiri, 30, of Gaithersburg. "I was jolted out of bed. All my neighbors woke up. After it passed, I thought it could be an earthquake, and lay in bed hoping there were no aftershocks."

Judy Rudolph, 64, said she was writing e-mails in bed in Rockville, Maryland, when her house started to shake. "My first reaction was the noise.... I thought it was an explosion," she said. She said she'd never felt anything like it in her 31 years living there.

The last earthquake in Maryland occurred on October 8, 2007, according to the USGS website. It was a 1.7-magnitude quake about 5 miles northwest of Baltimore.

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Filed under: U.S. • Weather
soundoff (336 Responses)
  1. Ben

    I'm in Gaithersburg, Md and was awake at the time. I did feel it. It was a little stronger shake of my house than the freight trains that go by!

    July 16, 2010 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Gerasimos Michalitsianos

      I am a geology major here at the University of Maryland, College Park. This experience was in particular, quite enjoyable, considering my thesis is on seismic events in Alaska/CA.

      July 16, 2010 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
    • stephanie

      i live in columbia md and felt my bed shaking like someone had just jumped on it but there was no one there – thought it must have been a very real dream until i heard the news this morning

      July 16, 2010 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan Davis

      I felt nothing, but than again I fell asleep at a Who concert in the early eighties.

      July 16, 2010 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
    • UmmKais

      I'm in Gaithersburg too...it scared me more because I heard the loud rumbling and my husband and I thought a large truck was coming straight into our house. Our walls rattled a lot for such a small earthquake. I don't know how Calfornians, etc. live though much bigger ones.

      July 16, 2010 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      I live in Towson, MD (above Baltimore) and could not feel a thing D:

      July 16, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • LRoy

      I live in Massachusetts. Those of us in New England, get earthquakes and quite often. Most of the time, you don't even notice ever happened.

      July 16, 2010 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • DMVresident

      We live in Alexandria and we definitely heard it. We knew it wasn't a plane, it was much much louder than that. Very bizarre. Glad everyone is ok.

      July 16, 2010 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      I felt it too, but I live over in AA county, north of Annapolis. It's weird because we don't live anywhere near any fault lines, unlike in San Fransisco, Guam or Alaska...

      July 16, 2010 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • diaryofamisEducatedblackman

      My mom's about 10 miles from the epicenter and she didnt even wake up lol. Big news for that area though.
      http://diaryofamiseducatedblackman.com/

      July 16, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sean

    I'm in Rockville and it woke me and my wife up out of a dead sleep. Very interesting experience.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
    • rickeybobby

      We had a 4.9 quake hit Atlanta and the South back in 2003 hitting about the same time in the a.m. as you guys. I remember waking up, hearing thunder rolling in, rolling under you, and then rolling back out! It was an interesting experience indeed!

      July 16, 2010 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      rickeybobby...you explained it the best. It was my first earthquake and definitely interesting to experience. Funny how people in CA may not even notice a 3.6 but felt like a freight train to me!

      July 16, 2010 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    Yep, I'm in Vienna, VA and I felt it as well. Thought it might be a plane or a truck but it went on for far too long. I did a quick search on twitter and sure enough people throughout the region felt it!

    July 16, 2010 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jon

    I live out near Reston, VA and I could feel it out here. It woke me up around 5:03am. It felt like a dozen semi's riding by the house.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:37 am | Report abuse |
  5. Alex

    I live in Rockville and woke up a bit before it occurred. Roughly around 5:05am I felt a little rumble lasting 7 seconds or so. I thought a small explosion occurred nearby. Never thought I'd witness an earthquake in Maryland.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. Anna

    In dc near American Uni. and felt a pretty strong shock my bro, also felt it the same.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    I'm in Halethorpe, MD, suburban Baltimore. I work next to the railroad and I also thought it was a freight train!

    July 16, 2010 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Eumir

      Me too Brian... I was already awake for work, it shook the house & startled the cat.
      Kinda' cool!!

      July 16, 2010 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. Julie

    I felt it, but at first I didn't know what it was! I felt them all the time in California, but I didn't know we got them out here. So weird!

    July 16, 2010 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. Daniel

    At Derwood, MD felt my house shake for 30 seconds and i thought i was just tripping out from not sleeping

    July 16, 2010 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Ashley

      That's funny Daniel because I thought the same thing!

      July 16, 2010 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. Will

    It was strong enough to shake my entire house and wake me up. Lasted about 7 to 10 Seconds. I am in Bethesda, Md

    July 16, 2010 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. James

    Felt it in Pasadena near Glen Burnie...very week. Moved away from California several years ago, didn't think I'd feel that familiar rumble again.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. Andrew

    I thought I was dreaming when I woke up to my whole house shaking...i checked the news immediately but there was nothing reported...I guess this article confirms that I was not dreaming....

    July 16, 2010 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
    • carole

      It woke me up just after 5 a.m. at my home in Herndon. Thought I heard a roar, like a plane going over, at the same time.

      July 16, 2010 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. Payal

    I live in Rockville MD and I actually did feel the shake. I agree it felt like a passing train, but definitely a stronger shake.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. nazneen

    I live in woodbine, i was asleep and it woke me up, i was so confused, had no idea what was happening, so scarry.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jon

    Jeanette, because it happened near DC. That is ultra rare.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      woke up sound like a truck found it eartquarke

      July 16, 2010 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
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