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. Lewis

    I live in Laurel Maryland. The shaking was enough to wake me and to make me realize that it was an earthquake.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. kat53165

    Damascus, MD. Heard a loud rumble and the whole house shook...woke up the hubby and made the assumption that I was dreaming!! Neighbor called within a few minutes to ask if we felt it–guess I wasn't dreaming. Someone tell me, when did I move West?!?

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

    I am in Chevy Chase and it woke me up from a good sleep. It was extremely alarming because when i was younger and lived in Northridge, CA, I was in the large '96 quake which happened in the early hours of the morning. Hopefully, this wasn't a precursor to something larger.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Andrea Laign

    i am in the district by eastern market - felt it - thought it was a big truck going by.

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

    I was laying in bed and I was wondering what that was. I'm in Frederick, it was a mild vibration after feeling like an explosion went off some distance away.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bob

    3.6 doesn't rattle anything.......please

    July 16, 2010 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Oh yes it does Bob! It rattled the china in my cupboads and set a couple of pictures askew.

      July 16, 2010 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Ike

      A 3.6 at 20 miles deep might now, but a 3.6 at 3 miles deep definitely can rattle things. It's fundamental geology.

      July 16, 2010 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Ike

      Dang, it's too early! Correcting my typo....I meant "3.6 at 20 miles deep might not" . Sorry, gotta hit the coffee now!

      July 16, 2010 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Alan

    I was sitting at my desk in Beltsville. I heard a rumbling noise and the building started shaking for several seconds. My second temor experience. First one was in San Diego of course.

    July 16, 2010 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. jenn

    This is very scary.....

    July 16, 2010 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Brian

    LOL Shaggy!

    July 16, 2010 at 6:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jim

    I live 1/2 mile from the epicenter in Gaithersburg, MD. I was awake at the time and suddenly a very deep rumble felt in the chest rattled the whole house. I have lived in the DC Area Since 1975 and this is a first for me. Our cats were scared to death.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:01 am | Report abuse |
  11. EastGhostCom

    That was my first earthquake. Wow. Advise everyone to look into HAARP (Gakona Alaska) and the work of Nick Begich. HAARP beams tera watts of microwaves into the ionosphere (to communicate with submarines, locate oil deposits, and manipulate weather), potentially causing, according to its patent (by Bernard Eastlund), earthquakes. Is the Bible truly predictive, or is it simply a playbook now being followed by those with so called geo- or scalar- weapons ?

    July 16, 2010 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. jenn


    DC quake history by USGS

    July 16, 2010 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Manassas,VA Resident

    Just after 5 AM Fri. I felt the house tremble and my end tables in the family room rattled. The dog alerted to the rumble as well. As I continued to read my morning news I saw the report of the earthquake and then new it was something felt by others.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joe

    Westminster, MD, didn't wake up until well after the quake, so I'm guessing we didn't feel it here (wife and son also did not wake). I know I'm a pretty heavy sleeper, but I would think my son would've woke up (and I'm pretty well tuned to wake when he does)

    July 16, 2010 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. Paul Ronco

    I felt it in Fredericksburg. It was an odd feeling, a small amount of shaking sensation as I lay in my bed, that lasted a second or two. I didn't have an explanation for it at the time, and although I thought "earthquake," I didn't take that explanation seriously. So, I ignored it. Strange to hear that it was a quake.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Laylah

      That is EXACTLY my experience in Frederick, MD!

      July 16, 2010 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
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