A magnitude 5.9 earthquake rocked the U.S. East Coast, sending vibrations and panics from as far south as North Carolina to as far north as Toronto.

Buildings in downtown Washington, D.C. were rattled, causing parts of the Pentagon, White House and to evacuate.

President Barack Obama and many of the nation's leaders were out of D.C. metro area on August vacation.

Obama was reportedly starting a round of golf when he felt the earthquake at Martha's Vineyard.

The nation's capital saw mild damage to some of its buildings, including the well-known National Cathedral church. CNN reported the Church 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 even speculation that the Washington Monument might have been affected by the earthquake, though a Yahoo! News report and National Park Service story disputed that claim Tuesday afternoon.

The earthquake is the largest to ever hit the D.C. area, bettering a previous high of 3.6 in that area. Washington D.C. was experiencing major issues with phone communications, as the area's systems were overwhelmed.

The mild shake and tremble lasted no more than 30 seconds in downtown Washington, D.C., reported the New York Times.

Officials at Reagan National Airport in Washington and JFK International Airport in New York temporarily stopped flights. The control towers at Reagan, JFK and Newark International airports were temporarily evacuated.

The quake centered northwest of Richmond, Va. on Tuesday, August 23 at 1:53 pm (EDT). It was 3.7 miles deep, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Minutes after the earthquake shook the director of the U.S. Geological Survey Marcia McNutt cautioned that the shaking might not be over.

What the concern is, of course, is that this is a foreshock. If it's a foreshock, then the worse is yet to come, McNutt told the Washington Post.

When something like this happens, everyone has to remember, more than half of the states in the U.S. are considered earthquake country, McNutt said. When something like this happens, remember what to do in the case of a seismic event. Duck, get under something sturdy like a desk or a doorway, get away from falling glass. Make sure that you are not in the way of falling objects like pictures, bookshelves, books, anything that's not firmly connected the wall.