Virginia Earthquake Shakes Connecticut

That’s also why California is more prone to earthquakes than the eastern U.S. the amount of seismic activity recorded in the Northeast over a 100-year period is roughly equal to that recorded in one year in California, he said.

An East Coast earthquake as strong as Tuesday’s might be expected only once every 50 to 100 years, Ebel said. “On the other hand, averages are not predictive,” he said. and it could be that another earthquake will occur in a few years and “still be considered within the long-term average.”

Had the earthquake occurred near a major city, damage could have been significant. He said he’d expect the damage from an earthquake of this size to extend anywhere from 8 to 100 miles from the epicenter.

Central Connecticut State University geology Professor mark Evans said the quake was the first of that magnitude to hit the East Coast in more than 100 years.

“In my opinion, this is a very rare event,” Evans said. “It’s very neat. It’s a good thing it wasn’t any bigger.” Aftershocks will occur over the next several days and weeks, and some could be as large as the original quake, Evans said.

Building inspectors were checking buildings throughout the state, and state Department of Transportation inspectors will check bridges, an agency spokesman said.

“We are reviewing our bridge inventory to determine whether any bridges need particular attention and will be sending out inspectors to look for damage over the next couple of days,” DOT spokesman Judd Everhart said. “Although this appears to have been a relatively minor event, we always try to err on the side of caution and so will be keeping our eyes open for any bridge that may have sustained damage.”

Operations continued as normal at the Millstone Nuclear Power Complex in Waterford, although the Associated Press reported shutdowns of plants near the quake’s epicenter.

at the Connecticut Tennis Center, where the New Haven Open is underway, play was suspended and the facility evacuated for about two hours so that it could be inspected.

“I was on the very top [level of the stadium] and it really started to shake,” said Carolyn Meyer of Westport. “First, everybody thought it was the person next to them, then everybody started getting scared and leaving. People were panicking.”

Meyer added that she could see the stadium’s video board rocking back and forth.

Peter Steinmetz, 23, of Simsbury, had a different take. He was in the upper deck, looking up at the sky and thinking what a perfect, peaceful day it was. When he first felt the tremor, he thought his father was shaking his leg.

“Then it became apparent this was an earthquake,” he said. “People were pretty calm.”

Courant staff writers Jon Lender, Christopher Keating, Rick Green, Paul Doyle, Steven Goode, Jenna Carlesso, Kim Velsey, Dave Altimari and Julie Stagis contributed to this story.

Virginia Earthquake Shakes Connecticut


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