Hours after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook the East Coast, the Washington, D.C. area was still experiencing aftershocks of considerable magnitude.
An aftershock of 4.2 magnitude hit the D.C. area at 8:04 p.m., NBC Washington reported. This aftershock comes after the surrounding area experienced afternoon aftershocks of 2.8 and 2.2 magnitudes.
It was at 1:52 p.m. that the 5.8 magnitude earthquake, which originated from Mineral, Va., rocked the entire East Coast. Residents from as far south as North Carolina to as far North as Toronto, Canada reported feeling the earthquake.
The earthquake is believed to be the strongest to ever hit Washington, D.C.
This may be the largest earthquake that we know has happened in Virginia, said Mike Blanpied, of the USGS Earthquake Hazard Program to NBC Washington. There was one of similar size down near Blacksburg in the late 1800s, but the central Virginia seismic area, which does produce earthquakes from time to time, has not, to out knowledge, produced one quite this big, even though it's an area of relatively frequent small earthquakes.
The White House, Capitol building, and Pentagon were all evacuated after the record-breaking earthquake. Buildings in New York City, including the one housing the Dominique Strauss-Kahn press conference, were evacuated after the quake.
The nation's capital saw mild damage to some of its buildings, including the well-known National Cathedral church. CNN reported the Cathedral experienced damage to its central pole, and a National Cathedral spokesman confirmed to The New York Times that at least three pinnacles on the central tower had broken off.
There was initial speculation that the Washington Monument might be tilting due to the earthquake, but a later National Park Service report stated the monument wasn't tilted, but that it did sustain damage at the top of its peak.
The East Coast earthquake hit within 24 hours of a 5.7-magnitude Colorado earthquake, though the USGS has stated there is no correlation between the two events.
The Washington, D.C. area and others experienced major phone communication issues, as residents took to Twitter to complain about lack of phone service. Washington, D.C., along with other major cities like New York and Philadelphia, initially grounded planes after the earthquake, but most were able to get flights out after a short delay.
Neither President Barack Obama nor Vice President Joe Biden was in the nation's capital when the Virginia earthquake occurred. President Obama was on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, where ABC News reports he was golfing while the earthquake hit, while Biden was in Japan, ironically visiting areas that were hit by last year's earthquake and corresponding tsunami.