New video surfaces after earthquake hits Va., shakes Charlotte area

A camera aimed at the White House shakes during the quake. (Source: CBS)
A camera aimed at the White House shakes during the quake. (Source: CBS)

CHARLOTTE (WBTV) - The 5.8 magnitude quake that the Virginia region Tuesday afternoon and could be felt throughout North Carolina -- and as far south as Columbia, SC still had folks talking Tuesday evening.

Ethel Sealy who lives in York, S.C. didn't know what to make when things started rattling inside her home. "I said, oh the end of times is coming," she exclaimed. "I was just sitting in my chair, reading the bible. (10:18ish) Everything started shaking and my chair started quivering.  I wanted to run but I didn't know where to run."

The earthquake was centered in Virginia about 34 miles northwest from Richmond near the town of Mineral.

A nearly 3.0 magnitude aftershock hit less than an hour later.

The Pentagon was evacuated just afterward and the US Capitol was cleared. A  DC fire department spokesman says there are numerous injuries as a result of an earthquake that struck near the nation's capital, but so far there are no reports of serious injuries or deaths.

A 2.8 magnitude aftershock hit the same area at the same spot at 2:46 pm, officials said.

In the WBTV building near downtown Charlotte, the earthquake shook the building and desks in the newsroom for nearly 10 seconds.

In Concord, N.C., Brandon Colelli was sitting on his couch watching TV when he felt tremors.

"The whole couch was kind of rumbling," he recalled. "I looked over and my remote was swaying back and forth like this."

Not sure what happening, Colelli said it took awhile for it took sink in.

"Is this for real?," he wondered. "Did I really have an earthquake or am I just imagining things."

It was for real. But Dr. Andy Bobyarchick, a UNC-Charlotte Professor and earthquake expert, told WBTV it's something folks around hear may never experience again.

"If you did feel this ground shaking then it's possibly a once-in-a lifetime for those people who live in this part of the world."

A nurse in Mercy Hospital in Charlotte told a WBTV anchor that the multi-story building shook noticeably.

Dozens upon dozens of reports from throughout the region of Charlotte were called into the WBTV newsroom.

Today's earthquake matches the magnitude of the strongest earthquake on record in Virginia which happened in the western part of the state back in 1897. The strongest on record in NC is 5.2 (near Waynesville, 1916) and the strongest on record in SC is 7.3 (Charleston, 1886)

Here are details of the earthquake from the NSGS:

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.


5.8 (Preliminary magnitude — update expected within 15 minutes)


Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 17:51:03 UTC

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 01:51:03 PM at epicenter


37.875°N, 77.908°W


6 km (3.7 miles) set by location program




15 km (9 miles) S (179°) from Mineral, VA

18 km (12 miles) SSE (154°) from Louisa, VA

26 km (16 miles) ENE (58°) from Columbia, VA

37 km (23 miles) E (97°) from Lake Monticule, VA

54 km (34 miles) NW (314°) from Richmond, VA

139 km (87 miles) SW (214°) from Washington, DC


NST= 17, Nph= 17, Dmin=59.5 km, Rmss=0.33 sec, Gp=173°,

M-type="moment" magnitude from initial P wave (tsuboi method) (Mi/Mwp), Version=1

"I live up in Taylorsville, NC and ... was reading a report when I felt my house moving. WBTV might want to check out with earthquake center," Marthy Matheson wrote in to WBTV.

The quake sent hundreds of people spilling into the street a block from the White House, with other buildings evacuated in North Carolina and tremors felt as far away as New York City.

People in Ohio,  New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama also reported feeling the earthquake.

"In Memphis, we have several people reporting they felt the quake," said Tracey Rogers, News Director at WMC-TV in Memphis. "All were in tall buildings."

The Virginia area has had only 25 earthquakes since it became a state, CNN reported.

The quake also put a halt to a tennis tournament on the Yale University campus. The stadium was evacuated and spectators felt three waves of shaking, the Associated Press reported.

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