OK, everybody’s a little freaked out right now. Not surprising. Earthquakes aren’t common at all for North Carolina. In California, this little shake, rattle and roll most felt in Burlington shortly before 2 p.m. would be just a blip No big deal at all.
But I keep coming back to this: The floor moved in my office this afternoon for no apparent reason. It’s not supposed to do that.
Any way you slice it, such an event is a bit disconcerting.
Like most folks, I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. When the ground first began to shift, I looked up to try and determine if someone was on the roof working on the air-conditioning equipment at the Times-News. Then I thought, “Can’t be an earthquake, may be an earthquake, probably a damn earthquake.”
The newsroom quickly made for our back door and into the parking lot, which is what experts usually say people should do when it comes to a temblor. But we had dozens of questions like this one posed to me by Sharon Harper Spears via e-mail at around the same time.
“We are on S Main St and it just felt like we had some mini? Earthquake. Daughter of co-worker in Snow Camp also felt it.
Quickly we noticed that people were being evacuated from buildings at nearby LabCorp. Burlington police spokesman Chris Verdeck said its dispatching operation was inundated with calls from people asking what in the hell was going on.
One caller, a Mrs. Donovan from Alamance County predicted the quake would measure 4 and called it a “roller.” She formerly lived in California — earthquake central compared to us.
And a friend from New Jersey posted this on Facebook: “Holy crap! This is crazy. The whole house shook.”
Before I could get reporter Roselee Papandrea to call Colorado State University, where earthquake activity is monitored, we learned that the quake was felt from here to New York and even Rhode Island. It’s a magnitude 5.9 and centered in Louisa County Va. northwest of Richmond.
Luckily, no damages have been reported so far. We checked our own building for problems and found none, so far.
Earthquakes here are rare. The last time I can recall one of note it was on the coast in the 1990s. There are smaller shocks recorded here fairly regularly that most never notice, though.
The largest earthquake based in North Carolina, by the way, occurred near Waynesville. It occurred in 1916 and measured a 5.2.
For more earthquake facts and history click here.