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Rare quake rattles eastern U.S. seaboard

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© 2011 AFP

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having a 5.8 in East USA is surely more dangerous than a 7.0 anywhere in Japan... The last line tells it all: "we don't have earthquakes here" - the buildings will crack and collapse, and many already show a lot of damage...

0 ( +2 / -1 )

I live in the northeast US and since I've been visiting Japan for many years I knew instantly what was happening. Many people in my area had no idea what to make of it.

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Shallow quake and in an area where building have no protection from quakes will cause a ton of damage. I hope everyone is okay.

1 ( +2 / -0 )

Still, it is amazing that nothing happened considering the buildings are not constructed to withstand earthquakes except for the few cars that got damaged and Charlene felt like being in a boat.

0 ( +1 / -0 )

Sounds like everyone got off lucky. Good to hear that no people were harmed. Buildings can always be repaired or replaced. People are what matters.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Same time as the district attorney was letting off the ex IMF chief from rape charges...sounds like divine intervention.

-4 ( +0 / -3 )

Colorado had a EQ 5.5 magnitude early today too.

0 ( +1 / -0 )

This would of barely cause Japan to pause. I have been looking for a conversion table from the American scale to Japanese one. 20 to 30 seconds, ick! I have been through a lot stronger than that. So what will happen when a large quake hits?

-4 ( +1 / -4 )

This creeps me out because I live in Wisconsin. We are on a big fault line as well that runs around or with the Mississippi river. It's said that we are well over due.

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Rizaric, JT didn't write the article, Agencee France Presse did.

I was in the bathroom when it hit. The school I was at is near the city airport so at first thought it was just a low-flying helicopter. When the seat started shaking me, however, I knew it was an earthquake. No apparent damage around where I was.(about 90 km from the epicenter), but when I got home I found books knocked off a shelf on the third floor.

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ebisen: "having a 5.8 in East USA is surely more dangerous than a 7.0 anywhere in Japan..."

Depends which part. On the Western seaboard, where one of the most active and dangerous fault lines in the world lies (San Andreas), they are far more used to and prepared for quakes. The Eastern seaboard is not, and I'm willing to bet, and therefore agree, that a major quake is far more dangerous due to buildings probably not being all that secure in comparison with those in Japan (minus Aneha and older buildings, of course).

Anyway, freaky. It's sad that a lot of people assumed terrorism, but I guess that's the world we live in, unfortunately.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This would of barely cause Japan to pause. I have been looking for a conversion table from the American scale to Japanese one.

True. I've lived in California where this kind of thing happens more often. I've been here over 20 years, though, and this is the first one strong enough for me to feel it. The local news naturally treated it like a prelude to 2012. So lame!

It's probably impossible to come up with a conversion table for the two scales as they measure two different things. The Japanese scale measures how much things are shaking and the "Moment Magnitude Scale" (MMS - formerly called the Richter Scale) measures how much energy was released by the earthquake. The Japanese scale reading will change depending on how deep the earthquake was and how far from the epicenter the shaking building is at. The MMS will be constant because only the energy released at the actual earthquake is taken into account, not how much man-made things are displaced. Based on the description of the Japanese scale levels, I would estimate the temblor I felt 90 km from the epicenter was somewhere around a 3.0 on the Japanese scale. Undoubtedly the people at the epicenter experienced in the 3.5 range considering how shallow the quake was.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Here's from someone I know living in the NY metro area:

"The chair, monitor, shelves, and hanging flypaper were shaking. At first I thought it was just vertigo or nearby construction, but then it kept going for many seconds, and everybody around me felt it too. Then I immediately checked the US geology website to confirm."

0 ( +1 / -0 )

It's probably impossible to come up with a conversion table for the two scales as they measure two different things. The Japanese scale measures how much things are shaking and the "Moment Magnitude Scale" (MMS - formerly called the Richter Scale) measures how much energy was released by the earthquake. The Japanese scale reading will change depending on how deep the earthquake was and how far from the epicenter the shaking building is at.

Yup, the scales are just different.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Living in NYC, I know that the northeast section of the U.S infrastructure is NOT built to withstand earthquakes as opposed to infrastructure in Japan.

On a side note we can say that earthquakes cannot be considered a rare occurrence here ay more as more will surely follow.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

American nuke industry touts its safety, but maybe we should be humble before the greatest nature, and reap the benefit from the overwhelming power.

We've heard that Virginia nuclear plant shut down by quake.

Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle said the plant was designed to withstand an earthquake of up to 6.2 in magnitude.

Based on its 5.8 magnitude rating, the quake was almost 10,000 times weaker than Japan's quake in March.

The plant, however, lost power and automatically halted operations after the quake.

While he reported no "major" damage to the facility, three diesel generators were required to kick in and keep the reactors' radioactive cores cool. A fourth diesel unit failed

Nuclear power plants can operate safely on back-up power, failure of generators was a key reason for the disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant after a 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami in March

God Bless !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I used to dislike the Japanese scale but have come to appreciate it exactly due to its anthropocentricism: various factors effect how quakes of the same intensity are felt, so it is a good counterpart to the MMS. Apparently, the crust on the East Coast is harder, colder, and relatively lacking in faults, leading to more efficient propagation of energy from the rupture. That's apparently why the "shindo" even far away in New York was higher than it would have been on the West Coast or in Japan.

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I'm from VA so it was really entertaining to read all the FB and google updates all day of "omg so scary" while seeing all my Japanese and West Coast friends basically go "that's nothing, come visit us"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

North Anna plant remains on Level 2 alert (4 max) after all electricity lost, and one out of four back-up diesel generators failed.

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When the quake happened I was the only one in my office (near Washington DC) that knew it was a quake. When I heard it was a mag 5.8, because I read JT my first thought was, "Jeez, in Japan they eat mag 5.8's for breakfast." But it's true that our buildings here on the east coast aren't really designed for anything worse than what we had yesterday. It's a miracle there wasn't more damage.

The reports on the North Anna nuclear plant are, as usual for news reports, misleading. The reactors shut down automatically as they were designed to do. They need two diesel generators to run the cooling pumps; they have 4 and one failed to start. Diesel generators are notorious for this but still, they need to be more reliable than that at a nuc plant. The really disturbing thing is that the design basis earthquake is essentially what we just had for real. So if there's a much stronger one, do we end up with a Fukushima here?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fadamor, all of that fuss over what was a 3.0 or perhaps 3.5. All of those people running out into the street, a true mark of genius. If it was a precursor quake the big one would of given them a glass shower. Still say it was a bunch of panic, the Americans need to set code for this possibility.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Fadamor, all of that fuss over what was a 3.0 or perhaps 3.5. All of those people running out into the street, a true mark of genius. If it was a precursor quake the big one would of given them a glass shower. Still say it was a bunch of panic, the Americans need to set code for this possibility.

As I said, that's the first one I've personally felt in over 20 years of living here. While I suppose you COULD set code for this, it would be virtually meaningless because the odds of a big quake in Virginia are extremely long. The strongest quake in history for Virginia only comes in at 5.9 on the MMS scale. The rarity of the earthquakes on the Eastern seaboard would make setting code (and having people practice drills) overkill. There IS code, by the way, over on the "left coast" as they are sitting on the San Andreas fault and get earthquakes on a regular basis.

As far as making fuss over a 3.0 震度 earthquake (as it was felt here in the D.C. area), we're used to that kind of stuff from our news. Anything new and different is treated like the beginning of the apocalypse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I seem to recall many Americans on Facebook saying "payback for Pearl Harbor" to Japan after 3-11. I wonder what those people are saying now?

I don't know how many of those actually made such an utterly stupid remark in the wake of 3/11, but I do know one female WNBA player twitted a nasty remark about people in Japan. She even responded to one of her respondents like, ''Excuse me, are you JAP??'''

1 ( +1 / -0 )

None of my friends in that area were panicked, but it certainly was a surprise to have an earthquake at all. Just to serve as a bit of a reminder, I made the following Facebook post:

A bit of perspective: Since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, Northeastern Japan has had 60 aftershocks of magnitude 6.0 or greater. (And over 900 of any strength.) That works out to an earthquake at least as strong as the one today, occurring about every 2.5 days. For a little over 5 months.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Was like old times.... Heard the bottles in my liquor cabinet rattling together & then the whole house shook. Amazing thing is that the epicenter was so far away but we felt it anyway. Reminded me of my first earthquake in Japan when my Japanese co-workers came into my office to see if I was ok (I think it was really to see if I peed my pants). A little surprised by the panic, but it was the first earthquake for the very vast majority of people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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