GOOCHLAND, VA — Two small earthquakes rumbled the Goochland area Nov. 9, the same region where a 5.8 earthquake in August 2011 originated that was felt up and down the East Coast, and caused damage to hundreds of homes and structures including the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.
The first 2.4 magnitude earthquake occurred at 11:25 a.m. about 23 miles west northwest of Richmond, while a second quake nearby came about 20 minutes later and was recorded as a magnitude 2.5, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Past Virginia Quakes
Earthquakes happen when there is movement below the Earth’s surface on fault lines. They can occur anywhere in the U.S. and usually last less than a minute, according to FEMA.
Most recently, a quake on Nov. 30, 2017, about 6 miles northeast of Dover, Delaware, was felt from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., and Fairfax County. The initial report was for a 4.4-magnitude quake but the USGS later scaled it back to 4.1.
A 2.4 magnitude earthquake rattled parts of Virginia on Aug. 25, 2017, according to the USGS. The temblor was registered with the epicenter located 6 kilometers from Goochland, Virginia, near Richmond, experts say.
On March 12, 2017, a 2.3 magnitude quake was registered with the epicenter located 6 kilometers from Goochland, Virginia, near Richmond. The USGS reports that people in Rockville, Maryland, felt the quake. And on Dec. 22, 2016, a 2.2 magnitude earthquake was registered with the epicenter located 18 kilometers from Ashland, Virginia. A 2.3 quake centered nine miles south of Louisa, Va. and 27 miles northwest of Short Pump, Virginia, was reported about 18 months ago.
Since at least 1774, people in central Virginia have felt small earthquakes and suffered damage from infrequent larger ones, the USGS noted. The largest damaging earthquake (magnitude 5.8) in the seismic zone occurred in 2011. Smaller earthquakes that cause little or no damage are felt each year or two.
The 5.8-magnitude quake felt by Northern Virginia hit August 23, 2011, when, as the USGS notes: “Tens of millions of people all over the East Coast and southeastern Canada suddenly felt the earth shaking from the largest earthquake in that area since the M5.8 earthquake in 1944 near Cornwall and Massena, New York.
When the earth stopped shaking, more than 148,000 people reported their experience of the earthquake on the Did You Feel It? Web site representing an area occupied by one-third of the U.S. population.”
That quake did millions of dollars in damage, including to the National Cathedral, the Armed Forces Retirement Home, and the Washington Monument in Washington D.C., as well as minor to major damage to almost 600 residential properties.