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. Garrett

    ITS THE UFOs FROM CHINA!! ITS TIME TO KICK SOME ALIEN ACE!!!

    July 16, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. Kathy

    I live in Gaithersburg and felt it- definitely stronger than thunder or a passing truck!

    Also, gaithersburg is about 12 miles from DC, not 20.

    July 16, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Melissa

    I live in Hamilton,VA(Loudoun County), it was so loud. Actually my dog was acting up last night, like when she sense a storm is coming. I have read dogs and cats can sense quakes hours before they happen. I guess I should pay more attention to her when she acts like things are coming.

    July 16, 2010 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. Kelly

    I'm in Clarksville/Columbia area and I slept right through it!

    July 16, 2010 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. mw-maryland

    From Silver Spring, MD. It woke me and my husband up at 5:05am. The last time was in Dec. 2003 and that one was a little stronger (there was snow on the ground at the time.) I was in Wheaton, MD and my monitor was shaking and papers were falling off my desk. People felt it in downtown DC more but it wasn't as newsworthy as this one.

    July 16, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. jay20770

    earth quake felt in greenbelt md. I woke up to my bed shaking. I thought I was going crazy or that it was a bad dream. Now I know it was a quake. Pretty kool.

    July 16, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Angela Wade

    I live in Eldersburg, MD and it was definitely felt here. Vibrating cabinets in my kitchen, walls and whole house shook. You can definitely feel a 3.7 quake!

    July 16, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. HoyaChick

    I live in downtown Silver Spring and I did indeed feel the earthquake this morning. It actually woke me up out of a pretty sound sleep. My whole bed shook and I could hear the rumbling quite clearly; this went on for 15-20 seconds. Surprisingly, my roommate didn't feel a thing, but she did hear the rumbling (also quite clearly) and it scared her too. I recall an earthquake in 2003 or 2004 as an undergrad at Georgetown. That one felt similar (minus the loud noise), but the epicenter was in VA, where there was minor damage in some areas. If you are in the DC Metro area and hardly felt ithe quake this morning or felt nothing at all, please don't assume that other people are exaggerating. That is not the case. Keep in mind that this quake was centered in Montgomery County. People in different locations felt and heard it differently, as of course common sense would indicate.
    Glad it was just a minor quake! Let's keep Haiti and other less fortunate areas in our thoughts and prayers.

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

    I live in Severn, MD (A.A. Co.) and felt and heard it clearly. Since I live very close to BWI, I at first assumed it was a low-flying airplane, but then I thought to myself, "earthquake? Nahhh, not in MD". LOL. Literally 2 minutes after it stopped, I Googled what I could online and found nothing. Few minutes later tried again and came up with reactions and questions on people's blogs. Minutes later, it was confirmed on the news.

    Funny thing is, my neighbor told me she was awake at approximately 3:30am and one had occurred at that hour, as well. She mentioned it was stronger than the one that took place at 5:00am. Did no one else experience the first one? If so, maybe others should be notified of this.

    Regardless, I must say that it was very scare for the few seconds that it lasted!

    July 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MP

    We live on the border between Gaithersburg and Germantown Our bed was shaking and we heard a noise, like an airplane flying low. Nothing big or really scary considering that we were right in the epicenter of it. The scary part is -no one was expecting it. I used to live in Southern California and folks living there are prepared for the earthquakes. You learn to live with them. But here,we all felt we were safe form them. Not anymore:(

    July 16, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JOAN

    My closest relative- my cousin Nick called me early this morning to tell me of the quake> he was scared to hell of it, that even his 2 sons in their teens were frightened, also of his dog howling & more even ran under the bed to hide out shaking nervously. Thank goodness nothing was destroyed during the quake yet at a 3.5 yes you surely can here that far away elsewhere. Also had a phone call from a friend in Long Island whom reported it to me. She also got into safety from it. You never know where, when any quake shall hit., even like my way in Mass. oh yes we had one about 20 yr ago that with my aunt visitng she felt it in the bedroom while resting in bed & the bed moved. She screamed hell. Yet us on the east coast we better watch out for another couls strike any moment.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JOAN

    My closest relative my cousin Nick called me up here in Mass. to tell me of the quake, during the time I had cnn on hearing of the quake. Yes people galore there all over in D.C., virginia & Maryland surely felt it. He was just getting up form bed to head to work & felt as if it was powerful. His dog got so frightened at first howling so loud then hid under the bed. Beware all you never know whaen another may strike!

    July 16, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TJ

    I blame BP

    July 16, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. truth

    I live in Mobile, Alabama and I felt the quake in DC. It woke me up and my walls shook. It felt like a Mack truck.

    July 16, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. o2benaz

    We're in Germantown about 3 miles from the epicenter and experienced a light rumble, a very loud booming noise and then everything in the house rattled. We have 5 cats and the 2 oldest ones still have "Marty Feldman" eyes from the experience!

    July 16, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
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