I was at my desk in my Tysons office building when everything started shaking. At first, it was mild and I even got off a tweet “earthquake?” before it started intensifying. At that point, I decided that maybe I ought to get under the desk. After about 45 seconds of shaking it was over and I decided to leave the building since everybody else was and hey, it was a beautiful day outside. Gradually, the whole building emptied after official word was emailed to everybody. Word slowly filtered out through the crowd that the quake’s epicenter was in Mineral, Va. and registered 5.9 on the Richter scale. Wireless service was terrible of course, not calls going out or coming in and texting wasn’t much better. There was only one person in the crowd who seemed to be panicking a bit, everybody else was pretty relaxed about it.
About 45 minutes later, we got the word that we could get our stuff and go home. Seemingly, everybody is Tysons took that option, but preferring not to contribute to the gridlock (traffic was as if there was a snowstorm in August!), I elected to walk to the McLean Hilton for a refreshment. That proved to be an excellent decision, I enjoyed it, walked back to that parking garage and got into my car for a quicker than usual ride to Ballston to pick up my son. He said he remembered it and wasn’t scared.
This event was one of the more interesting ones I have experienced. It really wasn’t a big deal, maybe even a little fun, but I understand why everybody was cautious. I would be okay if we didn’t have another one. According to a friend near Detroit, he felt it too.
Not too far away from my office building, there was some damage (h/t Brad Stratton):
The National Cathedral seems to have gotten the worse of it with damage to the finials on the center tower and a flying buttress elsewhere on the structure.
The last ten years have been full of extraordinary events in the Washington area. I’ve felt my office building shake because a plane was deliberately crashed into the Pentagon a mile away. A near tornado blew through my Pentagon City neighborhood two weeks later before touching down in College Park, Md. Random sniper shootings terrorized the region. A tropical storm left my apartment building without power for over 2 days. I felt an very mild earthquake in 2003, missed a very small one centered near Annandale, Va. in 2008 and slept through one in 2010. Two major blizzards struck two winters ago. We have had record breaking heat waves the last two summers. There were cicadas too.