5.9 earthquake hits Virginia, jolts N.Y. and Carolinas

A magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck Virginia at about 1:50 p.m. (EDT), the U.S. Geological Survey reported Tuesday. Tremors were felt in New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

In New York City, some buildings were evacuated, and residents poured out of apartment buildings. "What happened?!" one young woman, clutching her large black cat, asked as she rushed onto the street. The woman had been in her seventh-floor apartment in Brooklyn when the brick building began shaking and swaying.

The Associated Press said the Pentagon was being evacuated. The quake also interrupted a news conference that was about to be held by the New York district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., about the dropping of charges against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Vance was about to begin speaking to a room full of reporters, on the eighth floor of a building, when the shaking began.

PHOTOS: Earthquake hits the East Coast

Everyone leaped up and headed for the stairs. "No one really yelled. We were just trying to decipher what then and there what was going on," said a local TV reporter, Luz Plasencia, speaking to NY1, the city's all-news channel. "We just said this is obviously not right. Let's just get out of here."

She said the obvious fear was that the city was being attacked. "All I could think of was I need to get out of here, I need to get outside, praying and hoping nothing would happen when we were in there."

The impact was felt immediately on -- where else? -- Twitter.

5.8 magnitude!!! Really? An earthquake? I'm very skeptical. Maybe it was something else.... Hmm....@JamesWagnerWP

earthquake in NYC! @laughingsquid

An earthquake feels surprisingly like a panic attack. I thought my heart was just beating like crazy. @woodlandalyssa

And because you knew someone had to say it, there's this:

Now you know what it feels like on the West Coast, East Coast! :D @hafelina

ALSO:

Bellagio bandit sentenced to at least 3 years in prison

All charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn dismissed

Hurricane Irene: Prepare for a Category 4 'major hurricane'

-- Tina Susman in New York City and Stephen Ceasar and Rene Lynch in Los Angeles

Image: A shallow magnitude 5.9-earthquake was reported this afternoon near Richmond, Va. Credit: USGS

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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