Virginia earthquake felt in Connecticut, beyond, on Aug. 23
An earthquake centered in Mineral, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 23, sent shock waves up and down the East Coast that were felt here in the Northwest Corner.The quake was the strongest to hit the East Coast in 67 years and almost as strong (5.8 on the Richter Scale) as the most powerful quake in Virginia’s recorded history — a 5.9 quake that occurred in May 1897 in Giles County, Va.At Lakeville Journal Co. headquarters in Lake-ville, tremors shook the newsroom. Editors reported watching their desks sway.In Winsted, the quake rattled The Gilbert School.“We have kids up here at Gilbert enjoying band camp,” Terry Cowgill, the school’s director of development, reported on Facebook. “I don’t think they noticed it since they were playing their instruments at the time. But my monitor, bookshelves and the walls of my office shook and made noises. Spooky stuff.”Half of Millerton felt the quake while half said they didn’t notice it. People questioned at the Grand Union, the Getty station and the Salisbury Bank branch said they felt nothing.Out closer to the Connecticut border, it was another story.Basil Gabriel, owner and mechanic at Basil Auto Sales & Service on Route 44, reported that he and his staff had to evacuate their garage.“The whole building swayed,” Gabriel said. “I could see everything shaking inside.”Gabriel said he had an SUV on the lift when the quake hit.“I really had to stay away from the car because I thought it would fall off the lift,” he said. He added that the shaking lasted about 30 seconds.Next door at the Millerton Athletic Club, Joseph Arroyo, manager, also evacuated his building.“The way it shook, I didn’t want to take a chance,” he said.Arroyo said a rack of weights totaling about 1,000 pounds rattled and shook.The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) explained that people in faraway locations experienced tremors because the earthquake was shallow — about 3.7 miles deep. The bedrock on the East Coast is also older and harder than rock on the West Coast, resulting in more widespread tremors.Shaking was reported throughout the Mid-Atlantic as far north as Toronto, Ontario, and south through South Carolina.News reports stated that two nuclear reactors were taken offline at the North Anna nuclear power plant operated by Dominion Resources just a few miles from the epicenter.In Washington, D.C, the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral sustained minor damage that necessitated closing the monuments for repairs.Here in Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered the state’s emergency operations center to open as a precaution. The center was closed later in the day without incident. Michael Marciano in Winsted and Stephanie Giglio in Millerton contributed reporting to this story.