Virginia marks 5 years since magnitude 5.8 quake in Louisa County

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WASHINGTON (AP) — It's been five years since a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck the Washington region.

Tuesday marks five years since the quake in 2011, which was centered near Mineral, Virginia, in Louisa County: about 80 miles southwest of Washington.

The earthquake, along with a magnitude 5.8 quake on the New York–Ontario border in 1944, is the largest to have occurred east of the Rocky Mountains since an earthquake centered in Giles County in western Virginia in 1897.

The quake was felt across more than a dozen states and even into Canadian provinces.

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.

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.

No one died in the quake, but the tumbler did extensive damage to the Washington National Cathedral and the Washington Monument, in addition to the extensive damage to local buildings in Louisa County and surrounding areas.

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

Repairs to the Washington Monument cost $15 million and kept the monument closed for nearly three years.

The quake caused $34 million in damage to the National Cathedral, and repairs are still being made. Head stone mason Joe Alonso says after five years only 13 percent of the work has been completed. The cathedral still needs $22 million to finish the work. Workers expect to complete the repairs in 10 years.

Far more damage was caused to buildings throughout Louisa County, which we reported on extensively at the time. You can find that coverage in the Related Stories section of this article.