WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Specialists are meeting on the Mall to discuss the lingering effects of the earthquake that rattled the mid-Atlantic one year ago Thursday.
Experts from the National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are discussing rebuilding and recovery efforts taken after the Washington Monument was damaged from the quake.
Tens of millions of people in the eastern U.S. and Canada were startled by sudden ground shaking from the rare earthquake. According to the USGS, several small earthquakes occur every month in the eastern U.S., but this particular earthquake was among the largest to occur in this region in the last century.
Approximately one third of the U.S. population could have felt this earthquake, more than any other earthquake in the nation’s history. More than 148,000 people reported feeling the ground shake on the USGS’ “Did You Feel It?” page. People reported feeling the earthquake at points as far north as Canada, as far south as Florida and as far west as the Mississippi River.
Because tremors are largely foreign to the East Coast, not many people knew what to do last year.
“Every large earthquake is a learning experience, but it is particularly the case for this Virginia earthquake because of the rarity of such events in the eastern U.S.,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt.
“For example, what are we doing so right that a record setting number of east coast residents know the value to science of submitting their experiences on ‘Did You Feel It?,’ and yet not enough appropriately responded with ‘duck and cover’ during the seconds of most intense ground shaking?”
What did you do when the quake hit in the middle of the work day? Did you run outside? Crawl under your desk?
Earthquake damage is typically more severe closer to an its epicenter. Geologists say if the epicenter had been any closer than 40 miles to the city of Richmond, then Virginia’s capital could have seen severe damages and potentially lives lost.
USGS warns of the importance of earthquake drills in schools and offices in case a larger quake does hit closer to a metropolitan city. The organization holds a monthly public lecture series in Reston. The next meeting, “A History of Rubble and Rumblings: Earthquakes in the Eastern U.S.” is Sept. 5 at the USGS Headquarters.