The 5.8 magnitude Virginia earthquake of 2011 occurred at 1:51 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday, Aug. 23, in the Central Virginia Seismic Zone, which is believed to have produced the strongest magnitude in the history of Virginia in May 1897, a 5.9 earthquake in Giles County.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the area has produced “small and moderate earthquakes since at least the 18th century.”
The last known earthquake to have originated from the zone's epicenter occurred in 1875, when effective seismographs were not invented, but the damage from the shock suggested that it had a magnitude of about 4.8, USGS said.
“The 1875 earthquake shook bricks from chimneys, broke plaster and windows, and overturned furniture at several locations,” the agency's statement said.
Another earthquake from the Central Virginia Seismic Zone that caused minor damage occurred Dec. 9, 2003, and had a magnitude 4.5.
Though Virginia earthquakes rarely have caused injury, tremors can be felt over a wide region.
“East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as 10 times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the West Coast,” USGS stated.
Here are a few maps that explain the earthquake, its locations, shocks that were felt across eastern U.S., damages it caused and more.
According to the USGS PAGER (Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response) system that provides shaking, fatality and economic loss impact estimates following significant earthquakes worldwide, the shaking alert level for the Virginia earthquake is orange, which accounts for economic losses only. Significant damage is likely and the disaster is potentially widespread. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of the United States.