2.3 magnitude earthquake hits Henrico

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you heard loud booms and rumblings, felt shaking furniture and thought it was an earthquake, you are correct.  A 2.3 magnitude earthquake hit near Short Pump in Henrico County just before midnight Monday.

The movie scenes of collapsing buildings and pictures falling off the wall did not play out last night, but the two point three magnitude quake was enough to wake many residents in this area just north of Short Pump. Furniture wasn't all that trembled.

"It started off as a low rumble followed by what I would call a boom!  I almost thought something hit the house," said Jamie Turner.

And just about a half a mile away...

"I went to bed around 11:30 and I didn't know what time it was but it sounded like a train was coming then the bed completely shook and then the train sounded like it went off," said Henrico resident Nicole Oberleitner.

NBC12 viewers from across Henrico County called and emailed our newsroom with similar accounts; rumblings ran through neighborhoods in Short Pump, Glen Allen and all the way to Willow Lawn. And the confusion spread...

"When I came out some of my neighbors also came out and we were trying to figure out what it might have been. A sonic boom, a transformer explosion or something like that," said Turner.

The something like that was an earthquake with a magnitude of two point three. The Director of Virginia Tech's Seismological Observatory says he's not surprised those rumbles caused residents to tremble.

"Even earthquakes a bit smaller than that, around a two can be felt if they're shallow and in an area where you have a fairly high population density," said Martin Chapman, Virginia Tech Seismological Observatory Director.

"Even though it was a small one it was pretty violent. Shook the bed, woke me up!" Nicole said.

The quivering began exactly eight seconds before midnight and took about a minute and a half to completely subside, but residents were probably only "all shook up" for a matter of seconds.  And with confirmation of the quake comes a sigh of relief.

"At least now we have an explanation, we're not going crazy," Turner said.

Scientists from both the US Geological Survey and Virginia Tech are continuing to investigate.  They record all strengths of quakes to find out what's causing them and where they are likely to happen in the future.

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