Earthquake in the D.C. area?

Seriously? If we hadn’t had one last year, I would have never believed it. I’m just glad I lived in Southern Cal for ten years, so I at least knew to stand under a doorway.

Was minding my own business, when I heard a really loud thud, like a huge pile of concrete had been dropped from high above. Then another one. I looked at my stepdaughter and said, “What the…? I think we’re having an earthquake!” Lots of shaking and rattling and photos falling off the shelves. I ran for the nearest doorway and stood under it; my stepdaughter got under the desk, then came over to the doorway. I remember thinking, “This is a long-lasting one.” They said on the news it was only 26 seconds, but it felt longer.

My first earthquake was so much worse. I was staying with my sister in the L.A. area in 1992 and it was my last day there. I was sound asleep and dreaming I was on a ship in a stormy sea. I woke up a little and thought I was still dreaming because the bed was actually rolling, just like the ship. Then I was fully awake and realized the whole room was rolling. But the sound of waves splashing against the ship was real. Turns out, water was splashing out of the swmimming pool and hitting the French doors in my room. This pool was not close to the house either.

My sister called down from their room and asked if I was OK. I said, “Yes…is this what I think it is?” I later joked that they were trying to give me the full California experience on my last day there. My biggest concern was getting back home that day. When I asked my sister and brother-in-law if the airport would be closed, they laughed. Earthquakes are so commonplace out there, nothing stops, unless it’s a really big one like the San Francisco quake in 1989. The one I experienced, the Landers quake, was a 7.3. The D.C. temblor was a 5.9.

Fortunately, there was very little damage in the D.C. area, and no serious injuries. The National Cathedral has a few cracks and a couple of finials tumbled to the ground. According to one expert, the D.C. quake was less serious because “our rocks are older, colder and harder.” Good thing, because buildings on the East Coast have not been retrofitted for earthquakes.

Someone with a sense of humor posted this photo of the “devastation in the D.C. area”:

Photo by jmckinley via

On another front, some good news: another one of my photos was selected to appear on a travel website called It’s one I shot with my iPhone while at the Bazaar del Mundo in Old Town San Diego….

Bazaar dishes

Stay safe, everyone….


About pearlsandprose

Photography. With a little life thrown in.
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16 Responses to Earthquake in the D.C. area?

  1. My friend that works a few blocks from the capital was scared to death it was a bomb going off. I am glad everyone is safe!

    Congrats on the photo!!!

    • Thanks, Mindy!

      You know, I didn’t even think about it being a bomb, but if I’d been in a D.C. office building I may have felt differently. They showed footage of a SWAT team on the roof of the White House during the earthquake. I’ll bet they were pretty uneasy.

  2. jacquelincangro says:

    We felt the tremors here, too! It was so out of place, so unusual, especially when you’ve lived on the East Coast your whole life, at first it’s hard to understand what’s happening. I had the same, what the… thought.
    Well, now we can look ahead to hurricane Irene this weekend. At least we can prepare for that one.

    • I read that the reason the quake was felt so far away is that we don’t have a lot of plates on the East Coast like they do out West. Everyone’s kind of on the same plate, if you will.

      Hoping Irene doesn’t do too much damage….

  3. Patti says:

    Cool photo! So much cool stuff in Old Town SD.
    Pretty crazy about the earthquake – I’ve never felt one that big out here in CA. They might have been bigger at the epicenter, but by the time the waves got to us, it had calmed down some.

  4. Caroline says:

    Earthquakes are so scary, especially those whoch wake you at night.
    Congratulations on the photo. Very deserved. It has such wonderful colors.

  5. TBM says:

    I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t feel it in Boston, but others here did. Crazy stuff. Love the colors in the photo.

  6. Lady Jennie says:

    Oh, I couldn’t stop laughing from the devastation photo.

  7. Hopefully the hurricane this weekend won’t be too bad. The water from the pool sounds really scary.

  8. It was actually kind of cool! I’d never seen anything like that in my life.

  9. Cheryl says:

    This earthquake sounds a lot more serious than last year’s centred near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, about 5 hours from where I live. I was in my home office when the walls ‘undulated’ … no rocking, no shaking, no thuds! It was as if they suddenly became flexible! Carole, I’m so glad you are OK and no serious damage was done with this latest earthquake – except for your nerves, of course. I was up north at the cottage for this one and didn’t feel a thing, but others in the region did apparently – lots of stories being told.

    • Yes, I was surprised at the strength and how long it lasted, Cheryl. I’m used to 10 seconds or less. The Washington Monument has a four-foot long crack, so it’s closed to the public. Now we’re bracing for Hurricane Irene. Never a dull moment.

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