The quake, estimated to be between 5.8 and 6.2 in magnitude, originated in Richmond, Va., before trickling to parts of Washington, D.C., Rhode Island and New York City.
With clogged phone circuits, Twitter, Foursquare and other social networking sites naturally became the next best thing for Americans updating each other about the earthquake.
New Yorkers were no different.
I saw the tweets from DC about earthquake, then 15 seconds later felt it in NYC. Social media is faster than seismic waves! wrote Brooklyn marketer Jesse Friedman.
Ten minutes later, Friedman added another tweet.
Holy jeez, my last tweet is getting RT'd like mad. Thematically, he wrote.
While some New Yorkers actually complained about not feeling the remnants of the Virginia earthquake, others wrote about their office conditions.
Evacuating my office building. The whole structure shook. Earthquake? wrote Brooklyn resident Meredith Modzelewski.
In Toronto, Canada, where the earthquake was also felt, local journalist Manori R. wrote about an interrupted video chat.
Best Skype chat ever. 'Just hold on, Mum, I think this is an earthquake,' she wrote.
On Foursquare, the location-based social networking site, more than 13,000 people had checked-in at Earthquakepocalypse (moving target, New York), as of 3 p.m. EST.
The U.S. Geological Survey also took to Twitter to update followers on the earthquake's magnitude, originally confirming it as 5.8 before changing it to 5.9. The USGS is now asking those who felt the quake to assist with real-time data mapping. More than 250 New Yorkers have reported to the site so far.
The Twitter world and beyond is expected to be flooded with earthquake-themed tweets for the rest of the day. Local comedian Joe Veix has perhaps best summed up the afternoon's Twitter craze.
For the record, everyone in Brooklyn felt the earthquake before it was cool, Veix wrote.