WASHINGTON (AP) — A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of Washington, D.C., and was felt as far north as Rhode Island, New York City and Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where President Barack Obama is vacationing.The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was half a mile deep.Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated. There were no immediate reports of injuries.It was centered near Louisa, Va., which is northwest of Richmond and south of Washington.Obama and many of the nation's leaders were out of town on August vacation when the quake struck at 1:51 p.m. EDT. The shaking was felt on the Martha's Vineyard golf course as Obama was just starting a round.The East Coast gets earthquakes, but usually smaller ones and is less prepared than California or Alaska for shaking.At Reagan National Airport outside Washington, ceiling tiles fell during a few seconds of shaking.Authorities announced it was an earthquake and all flights were put on hold.At the Pentagon in northern Virginia, a low rumbling built and built to the point that the building was shaking. People ran into the corridors of the government's biggest building and as the shaking continued there were shouts of "Evacuate! Evacuate!"
U.S. Park Police in Washington made an initial survey of the city's monuments after a 5.9 magnitude earthquake and found no serious damage.According to The Washington Post, the Park Police checked the monuments by helicopter shortly after the earthquake on Tuesday.
However, the Washington Monument, because of its structural complexities, will remain closed until further notice, according to the NPS.The NPS said it is evaluating the structures to ensure that they are structurally sound and safe for all visitors.Agency spokesman Jeffrey Olson told the AP that there was "absolutely no damage" to the Washington Monument, contrary to media reports elsewhere that it was leaning."Absolutely incorrect," U.S. Park Police Sgt. David Schlosser said of media reports that the Washington Monument was leaning. "It stands tall and proud."
Source: Washington Times, Kelly Picket