Earthquake Rumbles In MD, Minor Shaking Reported


The U.S. Geological Survey said a 2.3-magnitude earthquake centered near Rockville shook Maryland early Tuesday morning. A stock photo of a seismograph, a machine that detects quakes, is shown above. (Shutterstock)

ROCKVILLE, MD - A 2.3-magnitude earthquake caused minor shaking in Maryland this week. The quake shook the state Tuesday at 12:51 a.m.

The earthquake's epicenter, or origin, was 1.9 miles west of Rockville. The quake started about 9.5 miles below the Earth's surface.

Patch has not seen any reports of injuries.

Residents reported weak to light shaking near and far. 

Most rumbles were reported in Montgomery, Prince George's and Howard counties along with Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia. Several out-of-state shaking reports also came in, including three from the Cincinnati, Ohio area.

This shaking was self-reported on the U.S. Geological Survey's Did You Feel It? webpage. These data were not reviewed by a scientist, however.

“The whole house shook. My wife and I jumped out of bed all confused and scared not knowing what is going on,” an unidentified Darnestown resident told WTOP. “Very scary. Windows shook.”

Maryland has occasional small earthquakes, but they're weaker than the ones in California.

California sits on a fault line. These fault lines lie at the intersection of massive parts of the earth's crust, called tectonic plates.

These continental-sized tectonic plates move ever so slightly, causing tension to build. Eventually, the tension gets released via an earthquake.

Maryland isn't on an earthquake-prone fault line, but local imperfections in the Earth's crust can still cause minor rumblings.

“These are not active faults, but they are still discontinuities in the Earth’s crust that exist in this area,” Rebecca Kavage Adams, a lead geologist at the Maryland Geological Survey, told WTOP. “There is stress that accumulates in our part of the world on these very, very old breaks in the Earth’s crust. And so every now and then, enough stress accumulates on those on those planes that they actually do move past each other and create small earthquakes.”

To see more reactions to the earthquake and learn what scientists are saying, read WTOP's full story.

The U.S. Geological Survey has more information here. That webpage includes a questionnaire asking residents if they felt the quake.

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