Aug. 23 marks 8 years since powerful earthquake rocked Virginia

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LOUISA, Va. (WWBT/WHSV) — A massive earthquake centered in Louisa struck the East Coast eight years ago Friday.

The quake measured 5.8 on the Richter scale and was centered about 5 miles south of Mineral at about 1:51 p.m.

It was felt as far north as Rhode Island and New York City. While it didn’t cause any deaths or major injuries, it did cause $80 million in damage to homes, schools and public buildings in Louisa.

Two buildings collapsed in the town of Mineral, and the ceiling of the Town Hall collapsed as well. The North Anna Nuclear Generating Station, which was about ten miles from the epicenter of the quake, shut down immediately afterward before power could be lost.

Two schools had to be demolished because the damage was so extensive.

The air control tower at Richmond International Airport was briefly evacuated and many downtown Richmond buildings were evacuated following the quake. Both Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens reportedly shut down all rides while inspections were being conducted.

The quake led to a gas leak in Charlottesville, damage to historic landmarks in Culpeper, a gas leak in Fredericksburg, and a burst pipe causing flooding in the Pentagon.

Parts of the Pentagon, the White House, the U.S. Capitol and federal agencies were evacuated.

Even the Washington Monument sustained $15 million in damage from the quake. The National Cathedral took $34 million in damages.

Buildings in Ohio, West Virginia, Delaware, and states all throughout the region were evacuated due to the quake as well.

The earthquake struck an area that historically is not seismically active. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the largest recorded earthquake in Virginia history was a 5.9 on the scale, centered around Giles County in 1897. The Mineral quake was the largest to have occurred east of the Rocky Mountains since that one.

There is a fault line in Bergton, which runs parallel to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and that line is why the Louisa quake was felt from Canada to Georgia. The energy from the quake traveled through the mountain ridge-lines.

A 4.2 magnitude aftershock was felt in Louisa later that night and numerous earthquakes have been felt in the area since then, including one this past June.