Around 1:51 p.m. Eastern time, an earthquake struck 90 miles southwest of our nation's capitol, some 65 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia.
The aftershocks were felt as far away as southern Canada to the north, parts of Tennessee and Ohio to the west (the press box was shaking at the home of the baseball Indians, Progressive Field), and North Carolina to the south.
Some Virginia power plants were obviously tripped, but had to mostly go to backup generators to stay operational.
Office workers and tourists evacuated quickly in New York City and Washington, D.C. Several people reported things breaking inside the Capitol Rotunda. The National Cathedral also was hard hit with three spires being ripped off by the sheer force of the quake itself. The Washington Monument had parts of the top of their Maryland made marble come off of the 555-foot structure and it is closed indefinitely. Key streets in and around Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia were also evacuated.
An aftershock measuring 4.2 was reported shortly after 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Thankfully, no major injuries were reported but there were scattered sections of damage to grocery items and car windows completely shattered.
Times Square remained unscathed, albeit traffic was moving very well except entry to the Holland Tunnel was blocked for most of Tuesday afternoon, but has since re-opened. JFK and Newark (New Jersey) Airports were shut down as a precaution, while LaGuardia was checked and all runways resumed operation almost immediately. Amtrak service up and down the famed Northeast Corridor (between Baltimore and Washington, a very scenic run) was slowed down, similar to what would happen if a blizzard paralyzed the Eastern Seaboard.
Most East Coast flights managed to resume key operations by the early evening.
Amidst all of the queasy feelings and nervous anxiety of upcoming aftershocks, the Dow shot up over 322 points (reaching its' high for the day) and the Nasdaq over 100 points.
Figuring there are some over 200 and 300 year buildings and most of them are not generally earthquake, at least I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the key structures are still standing. Once phone service can get back to some semblance of normalcy for a weekday afternoon into early evening--some traders should be calling up their colleagues in Southern California (are you paying attention, my always kind Georgia?) and ask honestly:
What can we do to earthquake proof our structures, just in case a 5.8 or higher quake happens again?
How can we approach these calmly if it happens again, unlike bracing for hurricanes or blizzards?
Will my home have adequate insurance?
These are hard questions that definitely do not come with easy answers.
Hope everyone out East will be fine, as I send virtually my prayers and thoughts to the many people dotting the East Coast--in particular those I communicate with in and around NYC.
And yes, I am a earthquake survivor--many years ago, but if you are all wondering--I never felt a thing!
312 points--the highe fot he day.