3.2 magnitude earthquake rattles multiple counties

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POWHATAN, Va. (WTVR) -- Wednesday evening a 3.2 magnitude earthquake rattled multiple counties.

USGS confirms the earthquake happened in Powhatan at 9:47 p.m.

Multiple residents in Hanover, Chesterfield, Powhatan, Louisa, Buckingham, and Henrico report having felt the earthquake. Some south Richmond residents reported that they felt the rattle as well.

"Felt and heard it out here in King William.... Thought it was thunder. Scared me straight," wrote Tamara Johnson, on the CBS 6 Facebook page. 

" Felt it in BRANDERMILL. Shook my bed and room," wrote Terri Woodfin. 

"Everything in my house was shaking. Dishes, floor, and especially me. My dog still is --poor thing," Charity Manis wrote.

Martin Chapman from the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech emailed the CBS 6 Storm Team Thursday, saying, "This is not an aftershock of the 2011 earthquake. It is another in a long history of moderate earthquakes in a broad area that we refer to as the central Virginia seismic zone."

The August 23, 2011 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook the ground from the Carolinas to Canada. 

Meteorologist Carrie Rose spoke with IRIS Consortium scientist Dr. John Taber in 2013, and asked him if we will ever experience an earthquake of that magnitude.

He told her that is “not likely.”

It’s not impossible, but “the chances are very slim” in the Central Virginia Seismic Zone. Why? Because that earthquake, and the 100-plus, subsequent “settling” aftershocks, have released the energy that had built up along those complex, folded and buried faults.

The vast majority of the pressure was relieved on August 23, 2011. With that relieved pressure, tension in the Central Virginia Seismic Zone could take several lifetimes to rebuild.

He said that we will likely feel tremors for up to five years from that initial earthquake. 

We will also continue to have the chance for relatively weaker events like Wednesday evening's separate earthquake within the seismic zone.



  • Mika Haakinen

    You really have to wonder if there’s fracking going on.
    Back in the day we NEVER had earth tremors ’round here.

    • Ann

      How old are you Mika ? There have been earthquakes in Virginia for years! Most people have never felt them.

      • Working Man

        Oh yeah – I had one knock me on my butt ack in the 1970’s, here. It was like someone pulled the ground fom under me. I was flat on the ground before I could blink. Then a super loud BOOM! That was 1975 or so.

    • Doug

      We can only hope there’s fracking going on. We need all the cheap energy we can get with oil prices on Obama’s watch being as high as they are. Fracking isn’t likely though…the green Nazis are fine with high energy prices, which amount to a regressive tax on the poor, as long they reduce oil consumption. Because “global warming,” which hasn’t been occurring for 17 years, might start up again. Or something.

  • Dunn

    Amelia CH… strong thunder like rumble, and shook/vibrated house for about 15-20 sec… cracked a couple masonry walls

  • Working Man

    Felt nothing downtown. Even though people in Carytown report feeling it. Not me. And I’m very sensitive to things like that.

  • Kim Harding

    I felt it in S.Richmond near Chippenham Medical Center. Was very thunder-like, but just different enough for me to tell that it was an earthquake and not the thunder from the storms in the area. Plus, my house creaked quite a bit, lol.

  • Kim Harding

    Your chief meteorologist is wrong, by the way. Geophysicists with the National Earthquake Information Center have said that this is a new quake, not an aftershock associated with the quake in Mineral.

  • Zach Daniel

    Kim, I’ve heard conclusions from seismologists that have said it was an aftershock, while others have said it was unrelated to the Mineral quake. I think the distance from the main quake in 2011 is the main sticking point, but when dealing with a seismic “zone” rather than a focused fault, it’s hard to know if it was something new or not. I’ll concede that after hearing more expert opinions, it was probably new, but at the end of the day, it all shakes your house the same way. ;)

  • Sharon

    While laying in bed I felt the bed shake for a few seconds here in Kent’s Store Va. It was not bad.

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