The east coast of the United States was hit by an “unusual” earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8.
The earthquake that was felt from New York to Virginia and led to the evacuation of the Capitol and the Pentagon is one of the largest to hit the region since 1897.
The strength of the quake was “very unusual,” said Karen Fisher, professor of seismology at Brown University.
“This is by far the largest earthquake that I know of that has occurred there in recent history.”
California seismologist Peggy Hellweg said the magnitude of the quake, compared to the California earthquake, was due to the difference in terrain between the two areas”
“The soil (of California) is made up of all these chopped things up – like a bunch of marbles,” she said, saying shock waves don’t travel that far due to the geology of the west coast. .
“What you have [on the east coast] is beautiful bedrock (and) the waves roll in beautifully.
This means that seismic shock waves on the east coast are less frequent than those on the west, but are normally felt over a wider region.
The east coast doesn’t straddle two tectonic plates like the west coast does with the San Andreas line, so, “There’s no driver in terms of the two plates sliding past each other – it’s that’s why it’s much more unusual,” she added.
No major damage or fatalities were reported in the “once in a century” quake, but some east coast nuclear power plants halted operations as a precaution.
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