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. Alana in Bethesda

    I am thankful that the majority of people who came to comment here this morning shared genuine first hand accounts of the earth quake wake up we had. In addition, many of you shared valuable information, such as the East Coast Fault line and about the variation in rock density changing the distance an earth quake is felt in a region. I think we all learned something very interesting and it's always nice to hear from a variety of people.
    Now, for the few who come onto threads like this and type, just to type foul language or rude comments... You are wasting real estate on informational pages not to mention other people's time when you do that. Please remember this and learn from it: “Ridicule is the first and last argument of a fool”

    Cheers and a happy morning to everyone!

    July 16, 2010 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Alana in Bethesda

      Oh! and that is a quote by Charles Simmons.

      July 16, 2010 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve in Olney


      July 16, 2010 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. Shannon

    It woke me up in Warrenton, VA!

    July 16, 2010 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mael

    My first earthquake, in an area that doesn't have them very often, and I slept through the whole thing. Sigh.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. Kevin

    The big one will hit November 2 🙂

    July 16, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. Denise

    We live in Upper Marlboro and felt it there. I submit that maybe - just maybe - this can serve as a reminder to us that the people of Haiti still need our help. Most of the folks here at work didn't feel it at all. I thought, how lucky are we that we had to wonder whether we were experiencing an earthquake? The Haitians didn't have the luxury of wondering. Just a thought 🙂

    July 16, 2010 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Alex Santana

    Felt it here in Loudoun County VA. Figured it was either a quake or a plane went down. Very different from California quakes which are more rolling. And in the West the quakes are rarely felt over such a larger area. In the east they are felt over much greater distances. In the big "New Madrid" quake in Missouri, in 1807, it was so large that church bells in NY and Boston were ringing...that was before any Richter scales, so they don't know how big it was, but it did re-route the course of the Mississippi River!

    July 16, 2010 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. Charles, Hickory NC

    If DC was swallowed whole by the Earth, nothing of value would be lost.
    Getting my hopes up CNN, be ashamed. I was hoping that DC was swallowed up by the Earth, then we could call it's destruction an act of god and smile, knowing that nothing but corrupt politicians and lobbyist perished, and nothing of value was lost.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      What about the good people that live in the area? You devil.

      July 16, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Charles, Hickory NC

      Like I said, nothing of value would be lost. Consider it a sacrifice for the greater good. If all the DC politicians were wiped off the face of the earth by a natural disaster, a few sacrifices would need to be made. So, for the greater good...let it be.

      July 16, 2010 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Syed

    I live in Ashburn,VA I felt something shaking, I saw the time it was 5:06am.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. ComputerGuy

    I think they were just calibrating Dick Cheney's Earthquake Machine. Isn't it awfully convenient that it happened just after 5AM? Isn't that when the military does all of their testing?

    July 16, 2010 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jorge Rodriguez

    I live in Germantown, near the Gaithersburg border and felt it. It sounded like a wrecking ball was taking out my neighbors townhouse...

    July 16, 2010 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dante

    I live about 20 miles south of Pittsburgh, PA, and something woke me up around 5 too. The birds were acting rather oddly too, very loud for that time of the morning. We just felt an earthquake a few weeks ago here that was centered by Ottawa Canada. Creepy but kind of cool at the same time.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dr. Shidude

    I'm in DC and felt nothing but sleepy this morning

    July 16, 2010 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. FightCrimeZ

    I live in Laurel, MD. I didn't feel it! My friend from Beltsville, MD which is only 5 minutes away could feel it, weird!

    July 16, 2010 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  14. foxey

    At least no one was hurt. I have been through plenty in CA some real bad. Better enjoy what days we have left for I fear there aren't too many left.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    Obama will have a press briefingat 9am blaming it on the 8yrs of the Bush administration.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Chatarri

      That was my first thought!! LOL

      July 16, 2010 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
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