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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Earthquakes in Virginia: So Far "Shaken, But Not Stirred"

"Do you hear me Elizabeth, I think it might be the big one," Fred Sanford of Sandford and Sons

After watching the recently disasters from Katrinia, and then the onslaught of Rita, you might think we are lucky to be here in Central Virginia, where we are safe from natural disasters.

Well maybe, while not exactly disaster prone Central Virginia, has had it bouts with floods, tornadoes, straight line winds, and earthquakes. These are some of the forces of nature we have dealt with, man-made disasters are now on the agenda for Central Virginia as well.

On this post, we will just address the issue of earthquakes. A fault line exists in Virginia, and we have recently experienced small small occurrences. We have been "shaken but not stirred," according to Virginia Earthquakes website, but they also report this:

"Virginia is expected to experience a 5+ quake every century or so, and the state is classified as a 'moderate' seismic risk. [In quakes above 4.5 on the Richter scale, buildings begin to fall. The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was a 7.9 temblor.] "

I particularly enjoyed reading the Virginia Earthquakes website, it explained in a very engaging narrative form, information about Viriginia Earthquakes. I encourage you to read it. Not only will you find the history of earthquakes in Virginia informing, they provide links, where you can find more technical information.

They also reported this:

"The last "big one" in Virginia (about a 5.8 on the Richter scale) was on May 31, 1897, in Pearisburg, the county seat of Giles County. The judge in the courthouse adjourned a trial, jumped over the railing, and fled outside with everyone else as the courthouse rattled, brick walls cracked, and chimneys fell over. It was Virginia's most powerful recorded earthquake..."

To read the rest of the story go to their website.

But that does make you think though, we might be over due for the next big one.


At 9:14 AM, Anonymous D L Ennis said...

Excellent post and link, Bob...Thanks!


At 1:44 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...


A few years ago, I read a book, called 10.4. This was a fiction book about an earthquake on the New Madrid Fault Zone. If you want to realize how much at danger we are, check out some info about that (you can get started here: A big one on the New Madrid Fault Zone in 1811 was felt all up and down the coast (from Georgia to New England).

Turns out the ground here in this part of the world makes the earthquakes felt further away at and at their original strenghth for longer distances. Scary to think about. It would make the SF quake of 1906 look like a walk in the park!

At 2:04 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thanks MOM and DL for your comments. I looked at your link MOM, and will look at it further.

I will also check out the book 10.4 that you recommended MOM.

Thanks again.


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