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. fresnotimelord

    Mother Nature Just letting the Powers that Be know that She is Watching..and No More Damn Oil Disasters...or Any Man Made Disasters!..Or else She is Gonna be Rumbling More and More..and More Bad Hurricanes..And More Typhoons, Rogue Waves, and other Natural Disasters to the Point where She will Say That's It, I'm closing Shop on the Planet..and Go BOOM!

    July 16, 2010 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. tom

    i live in California and did not feel a thing.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Ariel from G'burg

      Perhaps because it happened in Maryland, which is located in the east coast.

      July 16, 2010 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. Eric

    My brother & mother live in Columbia, MD and he's also a cop in D.C. I just called him on the cell in D.C. and he didn't even know about it yet, let alone feel it. Anyone feel anything in the Columbia (Howard County) area?

    July 16, 2010 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Lyzz

      yup, felt it in Ellicott City

      July 16, 2010 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Ike

      Yep, shook us pretty good in Columbia.

      July 16, 2010 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Monica

      Didn't feel a thing in Columbia, though I did also sleep through the several texts that came my way right after. Didn't wake the dog either as far as I know.

      July 16, 2010 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rudy B.

    First Earthquake since I have been here as a permanent resident, was up and was wondering if I had to run under my desk or waking up the roommate, finally I decided to be human and went warning the roommie who didn't even feel it....

    July 16, 2010 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. Fred

    Woke me up !!! Our bdroom is underground and we heard a low rumble and the the house jumped. At first I thought something exploded ( Train tracks 1 mile away) . Once we shook off the sleep ( no pun intended) we relised we had a quake.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. AFK

    CNN GET YOUR STORY CORRECT ..IT WAS MD NOT DC ..@ 504 this am quake hit laurel-germantown MD
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Maps/US2/38.40.-78.-76.php
    STOP ALWAYS USING DC AS A REFERENCE POINT

    July 16, 2010 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
    • jenn

      Sorry about that.... I will post correct one.

      July 16, 2010 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
    • bferle

      yah – we never get on the map, so let's get it right!

      July 16, 2010 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Ike

      Headline says "DC area".....this quake was in the DC area (20 miles NW)......it gives folks who aren't from here a reference point.....quit being oversensitive about things that don't really matter.

      July 16, 2010 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      Headline says DC AREA. Then in the first line it says Gaithersburg, MD. There are people that live in Maryland that don't know where Gaithersburg is. And unfortunately, The Metro Area is usually considered DC. But it's not that serious

      July 16, 2010 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Princess Buttercup

      and it was centered in Germantown, not Gaithersburg. They are not the same! I live in Germantown, was awakened by the noise and shaking, but we thought a train derailed since we live within a mile of the CSX tracks that go through Germantown. I now also realize that I felt one of the small aftershocks as I was going back to sleep – didn't know what it was at the time.

      July 16, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Woodsboro, MD not a fan of mother nature waking me up like this!

    Had just woken up right before it began. The house shook for 8-10 seconds.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. jenn

    Ugh.... thinking they should take a little bit of pressure off the well.....doesnt seem like a coincidence.....

    July 16, 2010 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
    • yeah

      now that is funny......get the buckets to catch the oil.

      July 16, 2010 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Ike

      Complete and total coincidence. Has nothing to do with the well. Why would capping the well cause an earthquake here and not Des Moines, IA? Or Boise, ID? Or Bismarck, ND? No logical connection whatsoever.

      July 16, 2010 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. Faith

    I live in Reston, VA. I did not feel anything but I heard it. I sounded like a airplane was right outside my window

    July 16, 2010 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Rudy B.

      I live in Reston too nearby the South Lakes school and I felt it for 5-6 seconds....Thought it was my neighbor at first but he moved out a couple of days ago....I am new in the area and one of my friends told me that we would not have earthquakes....that's why I was so surprised:)....

      July 16, 2010 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. PC

    Severna Park, MD here and I was awake at the time. Our house shook pretty hard. I, too, thought of a thunderstorm or a large truck. Then I read the reporsts... I'm crossing "feeling the effects of an earthquake" off of my list of things to do. (grin)

    July 16, 2010 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. Athan Sunderland

    In towson... felt it at 5:05 am

    July 16, 2010 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. jenn

    MD earthquake history by USGS

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/maryland/history.php

    July 16, 2010 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. Brandon

    I'm in Virginia and it woke me out of bed. My grandma thought something fell on the house... lol. It is surely something that is unusual in the D.C. Area.

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

    In Gaithersburg, felt it at 5:04 AM or so....first I thought it was the garbage truck....

    July 16, 2010 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jay

    in the damascus / gaithersburg area and was almost asleep at 5:05 and heard thunder in the distance, except it kept getting closer. definitely a cool experience, but i don't envy anybody who has these (and bigger) on a regular basis! was definitely louder than i would have thought an earthquake would be.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
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