“A magnitude-5.8 earthquake centred in Virginia rocked the East coast of the United States on 23 August. Click for larger image.USGS Michael Blanpied did not have far to go to experience the biggest earthquake in the eastern United States in his lifetime. Blanpied, who is associate coordinator of the Earthquake Hazards Program at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in Reston, Virginia, was in his third-floor office when the magnitude-5.8 tremor hit yesterday. “It was pretty solid shaking for 8–10 seconds,” he says.
‘Now, the challenge for Blanpied and his colleagues is to understand why the quake happened where it did, centred near the town of Mineral, some 120 kilometres to the south. Initial data about the earthquake are scarce because there are few seismometers in the region. Blanpied says that researchers are most curious about how the quake relates to the geology and the faults in central Virginia.’