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. Mabel Schwartz

    I live in Oviedo, Florida, and I didn't feel a thing!

    July 16, 2010 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mary O

    I think I was sitting next to Jonathan at the Who concert.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. RKinLSBG

    I live in Leesburg, VA and thought I felt the house shake and looked at the clock around this time! Of course I thought it was a dream and went back to sleep, guess not. Very cool.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Paul

    Even God is feed up with our political leaders.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jojo

    I live in Piksvile MD and I felt it, wasn't to strong, herd a faint noise something like a base coming out of a car with a rolled up windows, and one shake...that's when I woke up, wasn't sure what it was...now I know

    July 16, 2010 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. Shawna

    It was just an earthquake. Nobody died, nothing was destroyed. Yeah, they don't happen that much out east. But seriously, someone compared it to thinking it could be a terrorist attack? I know if you've never felt one before, it might be confusing until you know what it was, but not everybody thinks the NATIONS CAPITAL (as one individual put it) is the center of the universe, or that every little bump in life is a terrorist attack. The government loves installing that fear in you, and apparently you love eating it for breakfast.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Chatarri

    Guys...it was our founding fathers rolling in their graves over the state of our country.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    Hey Shawna...Where ya from? Ummm...A little history here... We here in DC WERE part of a terrorist attack. And being that earthquakes aren't the norm here, we only associated it with what happened 10 years ago. There's always someone downplaying human emotion. Geez. Go to work.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • momside

      The Pentagon's actually in Virginia.

      July 16, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bev

    we live in Keswick Va. just outside of Charlottesville & my husband felt it. Crazy!!!

    July 16, 2010 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Maggie

    The most exciting thing to ever happen in Poolesville, MD....EVER!. I thought it was a tornado. My husband did not miss a beat snoring. However my best friend (my dog) was with me thoughout the entire event. You gotta love your dog!

    July 16, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Matt

    It looks like God almost smote Obama and helped us take back back America!

    July 16, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve in Olney

      This is crazy! All these anti president remarks regarding a quake! Losers need to find something better to discuss.

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

    I was sleeping in my house along with the rest of my family, one person in my house was awoken but not me. I would have never know if my fish (squirt) weren't killed. He was at the top of the tank and must of feel out during all of the shaking:(

    July 16, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. Sandy

    Wow! So many comments for such a little thing. In Costa Rica we have earthquakes everyday, most of them we can't feel... maybe we're used to them. You start really feeling it when its above 5.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. BillShut

    Woooohoooooo!! I think a 3.6 earthquake is what the self-help book, "Earthquakes for Dummies" describes as a "starter earthquake". Nice size to have if it's your first one.

    Personally, I've lived through 4 major earthquakes:
    1. Loma Prieta event, 1989, San Francisco region – magnitude 7.2 (inital) 6.9 (final)
    2. Guam (USA), 1993 – magnitude 8.1 (initial) 7.8 (final)
    3 & 4. Adak, Alaska (Aleutian Islands), 1996 – magnitude 7.7, with an aftershock of 7.2 the following morning

    Now THAT'S an earthquake!!

    July 16, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. bj

    Anybody knows if there is different frequency for earthquake? I lived other bigger earthquakes but never experienced one like this. The noise is too loud for a earthquake of that small magnitude. Could be the higher frequency causes the noise?

    July 16, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
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