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. John

    earthquake in maryland??? hmm.... a sure sign that the world is comming to an end. i was sleeping in the basement and it woke me up with a startle. at first i thought i tree fell behind my house untill i saw this. if you dont have a savior now is the time to find one.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. brian

    was up all night.... didn't feel anything up here in CT.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ariel from G'burg

    I live in Gaithersburg and felt the earthquake just like most people on this board. I thought a couple of things: 1) someone broke into my house by exploding the basement door, 2) Our heat pump or AC unit exploded, and 3) A terrorist attack at camp David in Frederick, MD. I did entertain the thought that it could be an earthquake but I quickly dismissed that thought. I mean how often does this area experience anything like that. Just glad it wasn't any of my first assumptions 🙂

    July 16, 2010 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. sap

    in gaithersburg/north potomac area, Felt it around 5 am, it was a rumble, shook the whole house. around 6 or so, heard another slight rumble, but not quite sure whether it was the same thing!

    July 16, 2010 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Becky

    I live in Martinsbur, WV and felt the quake. At the time I thought earthquake, but had convinced myself that it wasn't. It wasn't until driving to work that the radio confirmed what I had heard and felt. Wow, that's a first for me, one that I thought I would have never experienced.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. Rockville Facts

    This is a big deal for Maryland because (1) it doesn't happen very often, (2) it is strong for this region, and (3) because earthquakes in this region can be felt more at lower magnitudes and can cause more damage because of the geology of the region and construction standards here. Not the end of the world, but newsworthy nonetheless.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
    • AFK

      smh@all the national news saying Washington DC hit by quake.,.U GUYS SUK

      July 16, 2010 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      AFK... it's ok. We GET that you don't like Maryland being called DC. If it happened in Baltimore, maybe they would call it Baltimore. But not the DC AREA.

      July 16, 2010 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. Zahara

    I happened to be awake at around 5 am and felt it! I heard a low rumble at first and thought it was a clap of thunder in the distance or a sonic boom from a jet. I experienced the 6.8 in Seattle a few years ago so I didn't think it was an earthquake because that one lasted for about 2 minutes whereas this one was just a few seconds. It felt like the whole house shook! What a way to start the weekend!

    July 16, 2010 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. Josie

    It woke my son & me from a sound sleep in Leesburg, VA. We felt something hit the building (we're on the 3rd/top floor), a small crash, a long low deep rumbling and my bed vibrated. My first sleepy thought was, earthquake?? But then I started going through the other possibilities like a neighbor slamming a door (that doesn't vibrate for 10-15 seconds); truck? no engine; plane crash? no sirens; why did the memory foam mattress shake like that? Cats...yes, they are unnerved...turn on the laptop and sure enough! "Wild" morning for this former Wisconsin girl 🙂

    July 16, 2010 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mario

    I live in Frederick and it was really exciting.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. Maria

    I live in Bristow, VA and was awake at the timeand I thought it was a construction truck. I heard a rumbling noise and the house started shaking for several seconds. It was aroung 5:05am.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. Christopher

    i live in Leesburg, VA and the earthquake felt more like construction setting off an explosion to me, it got me out of bed. i could even hear it. it happened around 4:30 to 5am. turned on the news and i didn't see anything about what i felt so i went back to sleep.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. carole

    It woke me up in Herndon just after 5 a.m.; also heard a roar ...thought it was a plane overhead. Thought I was dreaming until I saw this article!

    July 16, 2010 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. Clarksburg at Green Valley Estate

    At 5:07 my bed was shaking and it woke me up.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. Gloria LM

    I cut off my alarm at 5AM and started stretching in bed (and falling back to sleep) Felt the quake at about 5:06 AM in Silver Spring, Maryland. It was an unsettling feeling – you start to think about where your family members are in the house.

    Ok – not don't get mad you guys out there – but I do wonder if there may be any connection with the recent closing of the oil flow under water that caused this. I think the earth has a funny / or not so funny way of saying "Stop messing with me!" Any thoughts / explanations (even unpolite ones – would be appreciate)

    July 16, 2010 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
    • jenn

      That's what I said.....but.....damaged already done..... UGH. I guess I am thinking about the oil well is because I live in Orange Beach,AL....... 13 ft above sea level.... and have to wait til tomarrow for BP to update me with a news confrence about a potential hazard for the gulf coast residents...... I hope I am wrong....

      July 16, 2010 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Ike

      It's not likely that it had anything to do with the well in the gulf. It's most likely a local seismic event, especially since it was so shallow. But, we can always just blame BP for it! Just kidding.

      July 16, 2010 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Gong

    i was awaken by it and if i am right, it had couple of quakes around DC recently, but less than 3 magnitute.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
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