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Quake Listed at 5.9 Rattles East Coast From North Carolina to New York

D.C. Earthquake Caught on Tape

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake jolted the East Coast, rattling people from Martha's Vineyard to Washington, D.C. to North Carolina, prompting the evacuation of Congressional buildings and the taking of two nuclear reactors offline.

The earthquake sent people pouring out of office buildings, hospitals, the Pentagon and the State Department. The pillars of the capital in Washington, D.C. shook. Alarms sounded in the FBI and Department of Justice buildings, and some flooding was reported on an upper floor of the Pentagon as a result of the quake. Parks and sidewalks in Washington were packed with people who fled their buildings.

The quake was felt as far north as New Hampshire.

The epicenter of the quake was near Mineral, Va., 35 miles from Richmond, Va., and 85 miles from the nation's capital. The quake was 3.7 miles deep. The epicenter is very close to two Dominion Power nuclear power plants.

The East Coast gets earthquakes from time to time, but rarely of a magnitude to make skyscrapers sway.

A woman who works at Mineral Barber Shop in Mineral, Va. said that the inside of her shop is a mess but there doesn't appear to be any major damage outside the town square.

People in the New York Times building on 42nd street in Manhattan said they felt the entire building shift, and watched office furniture move. As the tall buildings in New York swayed, people ran out into the street.

The New York City Criminal Court in lower Manhattan was also evacuated.

In Baltimore, Maryland, artist Lisa Lewenz was working in her basement studio when she began to feel movement under her feet.

"Everything started trembling, with a big boom sound coming up from the ground. I've lived in LA long enough to know this drill, so rushed upstairs, and found the glassware still shuttering for about a minute. Couldn't get through by the phone to friends, and there was no news online, so I started worrying my house was collapsing," Lewenz said.

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