The 4.2 magnitude aftershock, which occurred around 8:04 p.m., was the third on Tuesday and had a depth of 4.9 miles and follows a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred in the same area earlier Tuesday.
The first two aftershocks were measured to be less than one mile underground. Just 45 minutes after the initial quake, a magnitude 2.8 aftershock occurred around 2:45 p.m., about 45 miles south of Mineral. The second aftershock occurred around 3:20 p.m. with a magnitude of 2.2.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has confirmed that a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck central Virginia at 1:51 pm EDT. It is the strongest quake to hit the Virginia area since 1897.
According to USGS, the quake happened at 1:51 p.m. at a depth of 3.7 miles. The quake was centered 27 miles east of Charlottesville, Va., near the town of Mineral in Louisa County, Va. The movement lasted for no more than 30 seconds.
Tuesday's earthquake was felt in New York City, Boston, upstate New York, Cleveland, Charlotte, N.C., and even Martha's Vineyard.
Mike Blanpied of the U.S. Geological Survey told The Washington Post more aftershocks can be expected and that they could reach magnitudes of 5 on the Richter scale.
Aftershocks could go on for days, weeks, or even months. They're most likely to be felt under the next three or four days, Blandpied said.
The rocks are old and cold and they carry the seismic energy very far, Blanpeid told the Washington Post in explanation of the widespread effects. Even a magnitude 6 or less earthquake can be felt over a considerably large area, unlike California where the shaking is more concentrated.
Although most Americans associate earthquakes with the West Coast, this is not Virginia's first earthquake, and the state is not an unexpected location for an earthquake, John Ebel, director of the Boston College Weston Observatory, told The Boston Globe.