August 23rd, 2011
04:06 PM ET

Earthquake shuts down Virginia nuclear plant

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 struck Tuesday afternoon near Washington, D.C., the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter was in Mineral, Virginia. The quake was four miles deep, according to the USGS. Did you feel it? Send CNN an iReport.

To get complete coverage and all the latest updates, click on CNN's main story here. View a CNN Open Story about the quake. CNN Open Story combines iReports with reports from CNNers across the globe on a map and timeline.

Update 3:36 p.m. ET: Terminal A at Washington Reagan National Airport has been evacuated because of an odor of gas, airport spokeswoman Courtney Mickalonis said. Initial sweeps of the building showed no major damage from the earthquake.

Light structural damage has been reported in Culpepper and Orange counties in Virginia, said Laura Southard of the state Emergency Operations Center. She said there have been no reports of injuries in Virginia.

Update 3:28 p.m. ET: The White House and adjacent buildings evacuated as a precaution following the earthquake have been given the all-clear, the U.S. Secret Service said. The FBI and Justice Department have also reopened evacuated buildings.

Update 3:25 p.m. ET: East Coast residents should be prepared to feel aftershocks from Tuesday's earthquake, a U.S. Geological Survey official said.

Update 3:22 p.m. ET: The North Anna nuclear power plant, located 20 miles from the epicenter, is shut down and in a safe condition, a company official and the Louisa County public information office report. There has been no release of nuclear material, Louisa County spokeswoman Amanda Reidelbach said.

Update 3:04 p.m. ET: All national monuments and parks in Washington are "stable but closed" following Tuesday's earthquake, a United States Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser said. A couple of minor injuries and some minor structural damage have been reported in Washington, following Tuesday's earthquake, according to Schlosser.

Part of the central tower of the National Cathedral, the highest point in Washington, was damaged, according to spokesman Richard Weinberg. "It looks like three of the pinnacles have broken off the central tower," Weinberg told CNN.

Update 3:02 p.m. ET: Amtrak is reporting service disruptions between Washington and Baltimore because of the earthquake, the company reported on Twitter.

Aftershocks are a concern, U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones told CNN. "People should be expecting (them), especially over the next hour or two," she said.

The quake was felt in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York City and on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, where President Barack Obama is vacationing. It's unknown if the president felt the quake.

The Pentagon has been evacuated, CNN's Barbara Starr reports. "When the building began shaking rather violently, hundreds of people began streaming out," she said, because many people thought that the building was under attack. Starr was standing in the Pentagon's press office when the roof started to shake.

Cell phone service has been disrupted in New York City, CNN learned within minutes of the quake.

Updated 2:47 p.m. ET: A "considerable amount" of water from a water pipe has flooded two corridors of the Pentagon, according to an announcement in the building. People who work in those areas are being asked to stay in their offices while workers try to repair the damage.

The National Cathedral in Washington is damaged, CNN has confirmed.

And Dominion Generation, which operates the North Anna nuclear power station in central Virginia a few miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, is trying to reach operational staff at the plant, according to a company spokesman. Landlines to the plant appear to be down.

Shortly after the quake struck, traders in the New York Stock Exchange also felt the quake and shouted to each other, "Keep trading!" CNN's business correspondent Alison Kosik reported from the floor at 2:20 p.m. E.T.

Twitter traffic suggests the quake was felt all over the East Coast.

In Philadelphia, HunterPence3 tweeted, "Wow Earthquake just shook the entire locker room!"

In Cleveland, "tribeinsider" wrote "I'm no expert but i think we just had an earthquake here."

And even in Toronto, Canada, tweets said that the shaking could be felt for minutes.

Pete Krech, who works at a business in Fredericksburg, Virginia, likened the sensation to being on a jolting amusement ride. "I was receiving a supply truck," said Krech, store manager at Mattress Warehouse of Fredericksburg, south of Washington. "I felt a vibration under my feet."

Brendan Wein, a sales representative at Hoffman Nursery in Roxboro, North Carolina, said he thought there was a helicopter flying above his work building.  "I was literally shaking in my chair," he said.

CNN iReporter Jeff Yapalater said he was in his backyard in New York's Long Island when the earthquake hit. "Suddenly I felt this light swaying of the Earth. I'd never felt that before, so I thought maybe I was experiencing vertigo for a moment, and it lasted maybe 30 seconds ... We're feeling this really far away!" he wrote.

soundoff (12,567 Responses)
  1. Camille

    Felt it here in Danbury, CT. Chair moved and building wiggled.

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. There is a cat at the door...

    Felt it in Pittsburgh...

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mike

    Major shaking in the office buildings in Springfield, VA, but no apparent damage in our area by the mall.

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lina

    Felt it in Long Island, NY! my chair started rocking, The building shaked, and everybody went outside..!

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack Talk

      felt in Bethlehem PA

      August 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      Saw my water moving in South Carolina! And I'm not the only one that noticed it.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      We felt it in Columbus. Just a little vibration.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • thomas

      we felt in toronto and montreal

      August 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sreeni

      Felt in Downtown Newyork city..

      August 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • veronica

      felt it brooklyn,ny

      August 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jody

      I felt it in Cliffside Park NJ, on the 3rd floor of a condo unit. It was a vibration that was all around me and it was for only 30 seconds. The second time I witnessed this, first time was in San Fran in the late 70s

      August 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sherry

      It was felt here in Mt Pleasant PA which is about 50 mins from Pittsburgh PA!! My house swayed and shook–I went outside to make sure the foundation was okay! Very Very Crazy!

      August 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cindy

      OMG! mine too.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      Felt it in State College, PA!

      August 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Cape Cod rocked!

      August 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Felt here it in Washingtonville, NY
      Slight shaking, home plants shaking and vibrating.
      No big deal here.
      Bob

      August 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heather VanCleef

      It was felt in Oneonta, NY

      August 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • CptnCanada

      felt for a good 60 seconds just north of Toronto

      August 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Eileen

    Felt it in Bridgeport (Syracuse), NY

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beckie

      We felt it in lancaster , South carolina

      August 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rita McCoy

      Felt in Durham, NC too....the whole bldg was shaking

      August 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karin

      Felt it in Boston!

      August 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • John D

      Felt all up and down New Jersey. My facebook was blowing up with people talking about it with in minutes of it happening.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • paul

      felt it in Stamford CT also. very subtle movement at desk and computer screens

      August 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amilyon

      Felt the quake in Wilmington, DE

      August 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • majik

      WE FELT IT ON LONG ISLAND AS WELL....

      August 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • dinmi

      Felt it in Detroit

      August 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nathan

      Felt in Charleston, SC

      August 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • olskoolkindasista

      FELT IT HERE IM MARYLAND. KEEP SAFE.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gail

      It was felt in West Deptford, New Jersey

      August 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laurie H.

      Middletown, CT – saw the blinds shake and felt my chair wobble.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Nicolay

      What about the nuke power plant at Lake Anna just north of center?

      August 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      For the first time in Philadelphia after 23 years I have felt an earthquake.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Olaf

      Felt it on the 2nd floor of our office building in Charlotte, NC

      August 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alexandra

      We felt it here too in Maspeth, NY

      August 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • frank bravs

      OMG just felt it in Manalapan, NJ cant believe this!!! another is soon to come?

      August 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sonya

      Felt it in Pinebrook NJ. The whole industrial park is outside now. It felt like I was riding on a boogie board!

      August 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jessie

      Felt my work building shake and sway in Bridgewater, NJ. Was freaking out!

      August 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      The Zoellner Arts Center on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. felt it.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • doreen

      i'm so bummed, I didn't feel it. NYC, Battery Park, 9th Floor, high rise

      August 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • doreen

      Bummer, I didn't feel it. NYC, Battery Park, 9th Floor, high rise

      August 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jane

    Slight tremors were felt in Atlanta, GA and surrounding cities.. Desks and chairs had a slight vibration for 30 – 60 seconds.

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Same here in Pittsburgh's east suburbs! Just two brief tremors. I work at a community college and thought a student had accidentally driven his car into the building.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • atlien

      glad i wasnt the only one in georgia to feel it. everyone thinks im goin stupid

      August 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Hmmm, more like 10 secs here in VA... about an hour away.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tye

      Felt temors in Atlanta. Office building shook for about 20 seconds.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rgist4

      Same her for Spartanburg, South Carolina! I work on the 12th floor and could clearly feel the tremble! WOW!!!!!!!!!

      August 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bee

      Hmm...didn't feel anything in the northern part of ATL.

      August 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Janine

      Totally felt a sway in the building (Buckhead).

      August 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lane

    Felt it in Hope Mills, NC

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Marvin

    Felt in Roanoke, Va

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. matt

    i was watching my lamp shades move and thought that was strange

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Deborah

    The earthquake was felt in Ottawa, Ontario.

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Britta Parsons

    Felt here in New Haven, Connecticut – evacuated our building!

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dave

    London Ontario felt it as well

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bill

    We felt it in Hornell, NY.

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lisa

    Felt in mid OHIO

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Carl Piscitello

    felt it in White Plains on Westchester Avenue.

    August 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
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