Earthquake centered in Virginia felt in Tri-State

(FOX19) - An earthquake centered in Virginia was felt in the Tri-State Tuesday afternoon.

The quake occurred just before 2 p.m. Preliminary data from the U.S. Geological Survey is that it was a 5.9 magnitude quake that was 3.7 miles below the surface. It was centered about 39 miles northwest of Richmond, Va.

Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C. and as far west as Ohio. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the largest recorded earthquake in Virginia history was a 5.9 on the scale, centered around Giles County in 1897.

The earthquake was rated as "very strong" by the USGS. For more USGS data, click here.

A District of Columbia fire department spokesman says there are numerous injuries as a result of an earthquake that struck near the nation's capital, but so far there are no reports of serious injuries or deaths.

DC Fire and EMS spokesman Pete Piringer says numerous buildings have been damaged, including the Ecuadorian embassy and a handful of schools.

He says thousands of people are milling about downtown after evacuating their buildings. He says that if a building has not sustained structural damage, the safest thing to do is to shelter in place. Union Station was also evacuated, but later reopened.

Piringer says all city fire trucks and ambulances have been deployed. Those that aren't responding to calls are driving around and looking for structural damage, injured people and other emergencies.

The tremors felt in the area from the Virginia earthquake have had no impact on CVG flight operations.  Some east coast airports are experiencing delays.  Passengers are asked to contact their airline before leaving for the airport to check the status of their flight.  Airline contact information can be found at

The National Park Service says all memorials and monuments on the National Mall were evacuated and closed after an earthquake struck the nation's capital. They are now all open.

National Park Service spokesman Bill Line says he's not aware of any injuries to visitors or Park Service staff or damage to Park Service properties.

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake was centered near Richmond, Va., and could be felt along much of the East Coast. Buildings shook in downtown Washington.

Several viewers have been calling the FOX19 newsroom saying they felt the earthquake. If you felt it, call the RANT line at 513-655-RANT to share your story.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.