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. Debora

    I live in New Market, MD and was asleep - the rumbling/moving woke me up and I wondered, if that is that I think it was and it was ... an Earthquake, Didn't like the earth moving beneath my fee/bed 🙁

    July 16, 2010 at 5:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ashleigh

    I wokee up to what felt like a large truck driving by the house. It was a minimal rumble, but enough to cause the house and headboard to shake a bit.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Cory

    In Baltimore. Felt it, made me get up out of bed and look outside. Couldn't fall back asleep afterwards.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. CW

    Felt it in Arlington too!

    July 16, 2010 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. Donna

    Actually, earthquakes in our area are not so rare. They are just usually so very very small that you don't feel them. The east coast sits on a dangerous fault line. The rocks are very dense so a quake of 3.7 that seems small by most standards was felt widespread. Unlike the rock formations in Califormatin which are much different and do not conduct the quake wave like rocks here.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
    • edoardo rincon

      is are not rare why you are awake writing about it ?

      July 16, 2010 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Britany

      *If it's not that rare, why are you up writing about it?

      July 16, 2010 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. DAVE


    July 16, 2010 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Ashleigh

      I'll second that!

      July 16, 2010 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jess

    I heard and felt a slight rumbling in Lancaster, PA around 5ish. Seems kind of far to be feeling something.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Christina

      Nope...as I posted below, I'm at the MD/PA line. It woke me up. You definitely could have felt it.

      July 16, 2010 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kaveo

    Man... I live in the basement of my townhouse and all of a sudden... i felt a rumble followed by a delayed rumble for at least 5 seconds. I thought we got bombed so I went outside to see what was going. There was a loud wind pitched sound coming from the sky and for a moment... I thought I was loosing my mind. I went back indoors and didn't think anything until CNN broke the news!

    I can only imagine what the people in Haiti felt when they got hit 10 times worst!

    July 16, 2010 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
    • MB

      Actually what hit Haiti was over 1,000 times worse than that what just hit the DC region. The Richter scale is a logarithmic scale. All the same, it shook me up a little due to the unexpected location. I thought something had hit the midwest where my family lives and we felt it here. It has happened before.

      July 16, 2010 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Shaun Griffin

    I'm not in Maryland, but was born and raised there, this is shocking for me to see -first-hand, I'm glad alot of you all were not hurt...

    July 16, 2010 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. Susie

    I'm here in Hyattsville Maryland and I felt around 5:03. This is my first time feeling an earthquake. I thought the animals could or would react to it 1st! Not a peep from our cat nor dog.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      My cat and dog slept through it as well (in Bethesda). So much for that legend!

      July 16, 2010 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. Josh

    Lol, i felt it and i was awake, but i thought it was like an invasion or something, russians...

    July 16, 2010 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Ariel from G'burg


      July 16, 2010 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Cathy

    I live in Germantown, and it woke me up. It was loud enough to resemble thunder but not quite, and it felt a little like a large truck, except that it didn't feel like it was moving, and then it was just gone. After I ruled out those two possibilities, I turned on the TV to see if there had been an earthquake or perhaps an explosion of some kind, but it was another 5 minutes before the reports started to come in.

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

    In University Park, MD. We felt the quake too. It shook our bed.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Shaggy

    I'm in Philadelphia and I felt it. It lasted 5-8 seconds..... nevermind.. I farted in my sleep.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh


      July 16, 2010 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Cory


      July 16, 2010 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
    • livinus

      I was at work in Hyattsville ,I realy felt the tremor , my first response was the ,fight or flight response ,which I managed to put under control . I actually didnt know what was going on until ,I saw it on the news , that was my first earthquake experience , and wont want a repeat lol

      July 16, 2010 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
    • LL

      I also live in Philadelphia – right outside the city – something woke me up around 5AM – thought it was odd – but I guess it was your gas.

      July 16, 2010 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Ike

      Exactly something we would all expect from someone in Philly....too many cheese steaks last night?

      July 16, 2010 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. Britany

    I felt it. It scared the crap outta me. I'm still at work :-\

    July 16, 2010 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
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