Va. earthquake is aftershock of major 2011 shake

A copy of Wednesday morning\'s recording of the earthquake on the EarthScope seismograph located near Mineral, Va. (Courtesy EarthScope.)

WASHINGTON – An earthquake in Virginia confirmed by the U.S. Geological survey is the spawn of a massive quake that rocked the region about two years ago.

“This is an aftershock of the earthquake that occurred in 2011,” explains Dr. Bill Leith, Program Coordinator for Earthquake Hazards with the USGS.

“We’ve had many earthquakes of this size,” Leith says.

The magnitude 5.8 quake in Louisa County was the largest of its kind in decades. It shook buildings, shattered windows, caused traffic delays and damaged landmarks around Washington.

The National Park Service selected contractor Perini Management Services, Inc. of Framingham, Mass., in late September 2011 to lead the $15 million repair project on the Washington Monument.

Experts say it has also lead to more than 300 aftershocks in the same area, including the trembling felt today.

The quake in Louisa County recorded around 7:00 a.m. this morning was a magnitude-2.3.

“This is still quite a small earthquake even though it was locally felt,” says Leith who notes several have been greater than a magnitude 3.

People around the region have probably felt between 50 and 75 aftershocks since the major quake, according to Leith.

Researchers expect the activity to continue for months.


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