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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 07/16/2010

D.C. 2010: Blizzards, heat waves... earthquake?

By Dan Stillman

Small quake, many (colorful) comments

* Heat advisory today: Our Full Forecast | The t'storm that saved D.C. *

* Q&A transcript: Mike Blanpied of the USGS *
* User-created map: Did you feel it? *
* Forum: Discuss your experience this morning *
* Audio: USGS official, residents discuss quake *

The year 2010 is proving to be a strange one around these parts. It started with extreme winter snow. Which has been followed by extreme summer heat. And now, early this morning, the largest earthquake in the area since tracking began in 1974. Fortunately, it was minor as earthquakes go -- 3.6 magnitude -- and no damage or injuries have been reported.

The quake, centered in the Germantown-Gaithersburg area of Maryland, rattled the ground across the Washington area shortly after 5 a.m., coincidentally just after our morning forecast update first published (updated since) here on Capital Weather Gang. There were 11 comments on that post by 5:30 a.m., normally a pretty quite time on these boards unless it's snowing, and it wasn't the heat advisory issued overnight folks were talking about.

Here's what some of you have had to say about this morning's tremblor, from the matter of fact to the amusing, both in comments on CWG posts and on a news story on

First to the computer...

Posted by: atoms5 | July 16, 2010 5:08 AM


YES!!! 5:05 AM...I'm in Fairfax. Wasn't sleeping well and felt the whole thing. Never felt an earthquake before but knew either that was an earthquake, or a bomb dropped somewhere in our area...haha
Posted by: rocotten | July 16, 2010 5:19 AM

Near the epicenter...

I am in Montgomery Village MD. We totally felt the earthquake. Glasses rattling /house shaking. Wow!
Posted by: soleil2000 | July 16, 2010 5:33 AM

Nerd alert...

I felt it! Immediately jumped up and went to I watched the little earthquake dot pop up on their map. I'm such a nerd!
Posted by: rjaye212 | July 16, 2010 5:35 AM

Keep reading for more comments...

Clueless husband...

Woke me up in Sterling at 5:03. I thought my husband had jumped out of bed because the dresser shook. I asked him if he was okay, but he was asleep!
Posted by: onemore4gsus1 | July 16, 2010 5:40 AM

One of those...

I'm in Rockville, felt like a truck ran into the side of the house... but lasted like 7ish seconds?
Plus I'm paranoid about the crazy neighbors and stupid war dreams.
Posted by: letzgoterps | July 16, 2010 5:55 AM

Ulterior motive...

I was hoping the earth to open up and swallow my car so that I could stay home and not go to work.
Posted by: harisinghjaipur | July 16, 2010 6:02 AM

By process of elimination...

I felt it in Laurel. It definitely woke me up though. After ruling out the house collapsing I figured it must have been an earthquake.
Posted by: terri92 | July 16, 2010 6:02 AM

Not a good start to a Friday...

There was an earthquake? I slept right thru it. Anyway, all I know is at only 6am the humidity is 94%, the dew point is 70, and we are under a heat advisory. This ain't gonna be a good day.
Posted by: rwalker66 | July 16, 2010 6:04 AM

A lot of thinking here...

I think we felt it here in DC, but I'd just woken up probably five minutes earlier, and I think I thought it was a truck going by. In related news, I tink I taw a puddy tat.
Posted by: mensan98th | July 16, 2010 6:29 AM

Not impressed...

3.6 wouldn't even wake my cat. Keep trying guys.
Posted by: BTinSF | July 16, 2010 6:36 AM


It woke us up out in Rappahannock County, VA. Do earthquakes make noise like that? Never heard one do that before. Very odd and I understand that the rockiness of our general area can account for it being felt so far away but only 3.6 rating, not to mention why we heard such a loud noise as well as though supposedly closer to its epicenter?!? Something fishy about this and I can see that others think so, too......
Posted by: msilva2 | July 16, 2010 7:13 AM

Clueless husband weirder than earthquake itself?...

I am in downtown Wheaton and it woke me up and scared me but my husband did not notice it at all. It's weird to be with someone that sleeps through an earthquake.
Posted by: honeylamb | July 16, 2010 7:43 AM

Must we give Mother Nature more ideas?...

Well, that's it. DC-MD-VA has officially had the most bizarre year of "weather", to use the term loosely, possibly ever. What's next? a Category 4 hurricane?
Posted by: SWester2010 | July 16, 2010 8:18 AM

Priorities... and preparation

I woke up and knew pretty quick what it was having been born and spending my first yrs in California. Checked USGS and didn't see anything right away .. decided sleep was more important but briefly thought about the structural integrity of buildings here and if a doorway or outside would be best should a bigger one hit. ;)
Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 16, 2010 8:37 AM

Score 1 for the husband, finally...

Once we had the mini-aftershock ten minutes later, I knew what it was. My wife told me I was wrong. Do you know how good it felt to tell her I was right? First time in 8 years!
Posted by: authorofpoetry | July 16, 2010 8:40 AM

Many more comments: Here, here and here.

By Dan Stillman  | July 16, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Environment  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: 90s here to stay, again
Next: PM Update: Dog days heat and humidity


great post, but it should say "since BEFORE 1974, WHEN THE USGS BEGAN KEEPING RECORDS."

Posted by: rocotten | July 16, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks rocotten... correction made.. and, thanks for the comment material as well.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | July 16, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I live in Adams-Morgan, DC, and it woke me up. Having experienced numerous quakes growing up in Northern California, I knew what it was. Rather than a rolling or shaking effect, which in my understanding depends on the inter-action of the faults, this one just felt like a steady vibration--at least in my location distant from the source.

Posted by: WillF1 | July 16, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

A 3.6 tremor only. Big deal !
I wonder what it would feel like a 6.5 vibrating earthquake.
Now, that is a real earthquake.

Posted by: infinitus | July 16, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I have nothing whatsoever to add since I have never experienced a quake in my life and the four of us standing in Front Royal at 5:05 waiting for the bus felt nothing. I found out about it via email 10 minutes later. As we headed into town I had my eye out for burning houses and flipped over cars but things looked fairly normal.

Posted by: eric654 | July 16, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

My favorite story from your Forum: The husband who was taking the trash out at 5:00am: The earthquake woke his wife and, when he came back in, she said, "WHAT DID YOU JUST DO???"

Posted by: Dan4 | July 16, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The Gulf oil spill, hurricanes, and the recent heat wave have many searching for answers. The internet is buzzing with articles and excellent blogs. But could it be simply the biblical sequence of God's wrath being poured out upon the earth which is relevant to current events in today's world? What if we are dealing with the wrath of God? Please visit my blog at . Author of the book Final Warning

Posted by: daniel24 | July 16, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Geeze, don't mention the hurricane.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | July 16, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow, it was felt in Rappahannock Co? I didn't feel it in Warren, but I do remember thinking I heard a truck early this morning... but it might have actually been a truck... and it might have been later than 5 am... who knows

Posted by: spgass1 | July 16, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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