Did You Feel It? Earthquake Slightly Shakes the Lehigh Valley

The U.S. Geological Survey reports a preliminary magnitude 5.9 earthquake was felt across much of the Mid-Atlantic region at 1:51 this afternoon.

At 1:51 this afternoon, an earthquake rumbled northwest of Richmond, VA, or 87 miles southwest of Washington, DC. It was felt in Northampton County, too.

The county Communications Center reported it had received "quite a number of calls" from people who felt the quake.

Robert Mateff, the county's emergency management services director, said that emergency management staff will continue to monitor the situation throughout the day.

In a press release, Mateff emphasized that it is important for people to remember that aftershocks are possible.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation crews are inspecting bridges in the state as a precaution.

“We have no reason to believe the Virginia earthquake caused major damage to any state roadways or bridges,” Scott Christie, PennDOT’s deputy secretary for highway administration, said in a prepared release. “But to err on the side of caution, we are assessing those bridges that could be susceptible to quake damage.” 

PennDOT will first inspect bridges that are at least 200 feet long or longer and at least 60 feet high. The inspections will continue through at least Wednesday.


On Twitter, @Fireman5241 reported his fish tank water, retaining wall and house were creaking in Nazareth.

"I felt the earthquake, thought it was the mine blast but we felt it for about 45 seconds to a minute in Nazareth," the Tweet said.

In the Easton area, afternoon scanner reports indicate crews were looking at a possible gas leak on 23rd Street in Wilson, and there may have been a traffic accident related to the quake.

On Facebook, Chris Moren posted: "Tatamy felt it for sure. So did those of us here in Breinigsville, and my co-workers in Valley Forge and in Bethlehem felt it as well. Crazy for sure."

Silke Burry: "Felt it in Bethlehem..."

Jenny Roberts Barrett: "Saucon Valley Manor shook."

Claudia Rumsey posted: "Felt it in upper Nazareth ... my house was twisting."

The U.S. Geological Survey reported a preliminary magnitude 5.9 earthquake was felt across much of the Mid-Atlantic region.

Did you feel it?

Katja Kruppe August 23, 2011 at 06:53 PM
Maybe the quake finally took my house down. At least then the builders will have a better excuse to walk away from the nightmare.
J. Drew Stefancin August 23, 2011 at 06:55 PM
Everybody at my work felt it but me. Bartender said the liquor bottles were shaking. Mechanic said the tools hanging off hooks were swaying.
Pamela Porter August 23, 2011 at 07:17 PM
At first, I thought someone was pushing a cart off of the freight elevator. Then the coat hanger on my office door coat hook started swinging - hard. The floor rolled for a good 10 seconds (4th floor here). Morristown NJ here.
Karrie R August 23, 2011 at 07:20 PM
yes, I watched my blinds move back and forth and I was sitting on the couch and started moving also. Sounded like a dump truck going down road for about 5 seconds Palmer Township (Easton), PA
Greg August 23, 2011 at 07:35 PM
I live in south Bethlehem PA ,and my building was shacking like crazy.
Christina Georgiou August 23, 2011 at 07:54 PM
I'm not sure which was more nerve wracking for those 10 to 15 seconds--feeling the floor rolling like a wave, or hearing everything in my apartment rattle while the walls creaked. Seeing the chandelier swing was just icing on the cake at that point. (my Downtown Easton apt.)
Pamela Porter August 23, 2011 at 08:02 PM
Christina: I'm with you - I don't know which was worse! I am just freaked out over the coat hanger - lol It was just like in a disaster movie. Remember "The Poseidon Adventure" - when the ballroom chandeliers started rattling? eek!
Kathy August 23, 2011 at 10:18 PM
Yes, 3rd floor in a building on the Lehigh campus. Felt swaying, left and right. Couple people had a few things knocked off shelves. Creaking and cracking while running out of the building. Quite an afternoon!
93GEO-Metro August 24, 2011 at 11:31 AM
I missed it as I was out on road delivering parts. When I returned I heard about it from a co-worker who's wife works at the Court House and said it shook. Right away I said jokingly, that maybe some of the prisoners were blasting theirselves out. But living so close to the Nazareth quarries & feeling the earth tremble for so many years from the blasting, I normally don't think anything about tremors, as I've felt a few out west and thought it was no big deal.
Shannon Hall Minnick August 24, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Our house shook pretty bad here in Salisbury!
Salisbury Resident August 24, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Those darn Mayans got their calendar all wrong. "Woah, watch out" said that bird!


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