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. Jack

    Certainly felt it in the Brookville area. Strong low rumble but not too much shaking. Felt like a major thunderstorm without the loud noise. No damage around here.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. M!ller

    This woke my wife up around 5am. My wife then woke me up. Why is it that I can never get any sleep?

    July 16, 2010 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. L

    We live in Monkton, MD and felt it also. We jumped up to find out what it was. It was over after about 10 seconds and was strong enough to rattle things hanging on the wall.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    While the folks in, say, California, get to experience pretty often, we sure don't out here. Here in Ellicott City (15 miles north of Rockville) it was quiet noticable, but very short. While I haven't experienced an earthquake since I was about 5, this was unmistakably an earthquake; In fact, I actually checked the news precisely to see if it was reported.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. JimH

    I felt the building I'm in shake. I'm in Sterling, VA though. Only lasted about 2 seconds.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. Stacy

    I am in Rockville, MD. It sounded like rumbling in combination with an explosion....Scared me terribly...my first thought was that it might be some sort of attack....

    July 16, 2010 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bobby

    Felt it at 5:05 in Fairfax, VA

    July 16, 2010 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ryan

    I'm here in Sykesville and it woke the entire family up from total sleep and we slept through that hurricane that came along some years back. Sounded kinda like a dump truck or a train passing through.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Gigi

    I also live in Gaithersburg. I agree with Ben. I thought a huge tractor trailer was passing by my house. I felt it.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    We are in Frederick and it woke up me and my wife. It was a low rumble at about 5am. It reminded us of when a bomb
    went off early in Paris in 1984 at an Aeroflot agency. Our apartment was in the suburbs but close enough to feel it.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ann

    I'm in Bethesda, MD. I felt it. Originally was weirded out, thinking it was a very heavy truck or caravan of trucks. Was somewhat relieved when I found out it was an earthquake. I suppose it's because we fear the unknown more than anything else?

    July 16, 2010 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Brian

    I live in Cali......welcome to our world. :).

    July 16, 2010 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Stacy

      LOL...It's not fun, I feel shell shocked...

      July 16, 2010 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. Clara

    I'm in Hyattsville, MD and was awake by the earthquake. How come we had earthquake?

    July 16, 2010 at 5:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. Nikky

    I'm in Greenbelt, MD and I certainly felt it as well. I was in and out of sleep at the time. Thought I was losing my mind for a second, until the news confirmed it. No damage or anything though.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. TESS

    I felt it here Silver Spring , Maryland as well. My picture frames on wall all shook.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:44 am | Report abuse |
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