Harish Jharia

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23 August 2011

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits the United States’ East-Cost: my Ashburn trip becomes unforgettable experiencing the live tremors…

Ashburn, Virginia, USA

New York office workers gather on a sidewalk after their building was evacuated... 

Today on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 an earthquake of 5.9 magnitude struck the seismically tranquil mid-Atlantic states on the eastern coast of the United States at 2:00 pm. The epicenter of the sequential vigorous jolts was Virginia, 135km southwest of Washington DC. It is amongst the strongest tremors striking the eastern state after 1897.

Incidentally, I am also staying in Virginia State more precisely at Ashburn. It was approximately 2 pm on 23rd August 2011. I was taking a post-lunch nap and was awoken by my terrified daughter, shouting for immediate evacuation out of the house. I was shocked to find my bedroom jolting due to strong tremors. I, along with my wife, daughter and a 7 year old grandson rushed out of the house and stood in the front lawns. We did not understand for quite some time as what might have happened. 

We however realized that it must have been an earthquake. We tried to call my son-in-law for inquiring his wellbeing and whereabouts. But to our surprise we found the telephone lines and mobile network completely jammed. Neither we could call anybody nor could we receive calls from our curious friends and relatives. 

At 2:10pm we went inside the house and switched on the TV. We came to know the details of the earthquake from the news bulletin that has been described in the opening paragraph of this post. The news bulletin also said that there were chances of aftershocks within the next hour. We felt a bit scared and kept ourselves dressed-up and ready to rush out in case of any probable aftershocks. 

Thank God we did not experience any after shocks there after. Strong tremors were felt in the entire eastern coastal region of the US including Washington DC, New York, adjacent parts of Canada, Maryland, Baltimore, Columbia, Atlanta, Georgia, and all other places in the east. No major damages to people or property have been reported except minor damages from a few places in central Virginia only, including a water-pipe damage in Pentagon.   

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