Nearly 1 year ago, on 23 August, tens of millions of people in the eastern United States and southeastern Canada were startled in the middle of their workday (1:51 P.M. local time) by the sudden onset of moderate to strong ground shaking from a rare magnitude (M) 5.8 earthquake in central Virginia. Treating the shaking as if it were a fire drill, millions of workers in Washington, D. C., New York City, and other eastern cities hurriedly exited their buildings, exposing themselves to potentially greater danger from falling bricks and glass; “drop, cover, and hold” would have been a better response. Fortunately, the strong shaking stopped after about 5 seconds and did not cause widespread severe damage or serious injuries.
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The 2011 Virginia earthquake: what are scientists learning?