Imagine an earthquake in Bowie, Maryland?  My wife and I arrived home from BJs about 1:35PM today, and finished putting the groceries away just before 2PM. Suddenly, the house started to shake and it sounded like a tribe of buffalo had gotten loose upstairs.  Although it only lasted seconds, to say it was frightening would be an understatement. This is the first time that we have ever experienced an earthquake and not really sure what to do.  By the time we figured that we should have gotten out of the house, it was over.  The US Geological Survey has stated that the quake measured 5.8 on the Richter scale and this experience, our first, reminded me that I knew absolutely nothing about earthquakes.  Thank God, there was no damage like that noted in the picture above.

According to Wikipedia, an earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth’s crust that creates seismic waves.  The seismicity or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time.  Earthquakes are measured using observations from seismometers.  The moment magnitude is the most common scale on which earthquakes larger than approximately 5 are reported for the entire globe.  The more numerous earthquakes smaller than magnitude 5 reported by national seismological observatories are measured mostly on the local magnitude scale, also referred to as the Richter scale. These two scales are numerically similar over their range of validity.  Magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes are mostly almost imperceptible and magnitude 7 and over potentially cause serious damage over large areas, depending on their depth. The largest earthquakes in historic times have been of magnitude slightly over 9, although there is no limit to the possible magnitude.  As of March 2011, the most recent large earthquake of magnitude 9.0 or larger was a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan this year, and it was the largest Japanese earthquake since records began.

It never occurred to me that the Washington DC area would ever experience an earthquake and yet here we are.  Although there are reports of some damage, it is comforting to know that there does not appear to be any injuries. I guess we should always expect the unexpected.  I wonder if this is a sign that we should place some money in our infrastructure?  Wishful thinking on my part.

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4 thoughts on “AN EARTHQUAKE IN DC?”

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