Updated 8:20 p.m.
We've been getting reports of aftershocks from Tuesday afternoon's earthquake that affected much of the east coast.
The U.S.G.S. says the latest aftershock happened a little after 8:00 and had a 4.2 magnitude.
Aftershocks are often felt for several days following earthquakes of today's size.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was 3.7 miles deep. Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated. The quake was in Mineral, Va., inLouisa County. Virginia officials say no major problems across the state. Louisa County has declared a local emergency.
Area schools evacuated after the earthquake hit. Administrators checked schools for damage before students were allowed back in. Virginia's Emergency Management officials are recommending homeowners check for cracks in structures and damage to gas lines.
Virginia Tech's geoscience department records and tracks its own earthquake data. All afternoon people have been gravitating towards the earthquake monitor in Derring Hall. It records any earthquake activity or the seismic activity. Even geoscience professors in the building were blown away by the spike recorded on that machine Tuesday. And geology students in the building were thrilled at the chance to experience the quake first hand. "You feel a little out of control. When the tables started shaking, um, we're all kind of getting rocked back and forth a little bit," said Austin White-Gaynor.
No polling places were shut down Tuesday. A few were closed less than 30 minutes and some voting precincts were moved outside when schools were closed, according to the governor.
Roanoke City 911 Center:
Roanoke City's E911 Center is being flooded with calls. Citizens are asked not to call the E911 Center regarding the earthquake unless they have a bona fide emergency involving damage to property or personal injury. The city appreciates citizens' cooperation during this situation.
The earthquake was felt throughout the City of Danville, however there have been no reports of damage or injury as a result.
The Emergency Operations Center is not being opened in response to the earthquake; however, Emergency Services will monitor the situation in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: E-911 CENTER FLOODED WITH CALLS REGARDING EARTHQUAKE
The National Earthquake Information Center is reporting that a 5.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Virginia this afternoon, with effects felt as far west as Blacksburg and Roanoke and as far east as Connecticut. As a result the City’s E-911 Center is being flooded with calls.
Citizens are asked not to call the E-911 Center regarding the earthquake unless they have a real emergency involving damage to property or personal injury. The City appreciates citizens’ cooperation during this situation.
Citizens are also reminded of the importance of having a plan in place before an emergency arises. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has helpful information on preparing for emergencies. Go to http://www.vaemergency.com/ReadyVirginia for more information.
The earthquake that hit this area in 2003 was only a 4.9 magnitude. Until today, the largest earthquake reported in Virginia was on May 31, 1897 when a 5.8 magnitude quake rolled through the Commonwealth, centering in Giles County.
Columbia Gas of Virginia Reports No Damage to Utility Infrastructure
CHESTER, VA. – August 23, 2011 – Columbia Gas of Virginia reports that at this time there appears to be no damage to their natural gas infrastructure as a result of today’s earthquake in Central Virginia.
Company personnel are surveying critical infrastructure around the state and are ready to respond to any customer service needs. Columbia Gas of Virginia advises any person smelling natural gas to take the following safety steps.
• If you smell the odor of natural gas, please leave immediately.
• Call 911 and Columbia Gas at 800-544-5606 from a safe location.
• Stay there until a gas company representative arrives, or leave a note on your door stating where you can be reached.
• If an appliance is out, do not attempt to re-light it –whether or not you smell the odor of gas. Columbia Gas representatives will restore service to your appliances.
• If you smell natural gas, do not use matches, electric switches or any kinds of appliances or motorized tools.
• All Columbia Gas representatives have marked vehicles, photo identification and wear uniforms.
The company also reminds any person needing to dig or excavate to call Miss Utility at 811 prior to beginning the work.
US Geological Survey:
USGS upgrades earthquake near Mineral, Va., to preliminary magnitude 5.8