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Update: Earthquake Tremors Felt in Caldwell

Governor: New Jersey seems to have escaped unscathed from 5.9 magnitude quake in Virginia.

The tremors of a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Virginia Tuesday afternoon could be felt around the Caldwells where bewildered residents exchanged phone calls to ask, did you feel that?

The earthquake is reported to have occurred outside of Washington, D.C. shortly before 2 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Megan McLeod, 18, said she was sitting at her kitchen in her Westover Avenue home in Caldwell when she felt her chair and then the table tremble. When she looked up, she noticed the mirror on the dining room wall shaking.

“My first thought was it was an earthquake, but then I thought I was being ridiculous,” McLeod said.

More than 380 miles from the epicenter, the quake locally measured 2.2 on the Richter Scale, according to the USGS. The USGS classified the quake in the New York metro area as a category IV which has "light shaking" and "no damage".

The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed that an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale was felt in Virginia and the Washington, D.C. area at 1:53 p.m. Tuesday. That quake was a category VII.

The epicenter of the Virginia quake was located nine miles south of Mineral, VA.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Association, New Jersey ranks low on the list of states at risk for experiencing an earthquake.

Earthquake hazards are measured as the likelihood of experiencing earthquake shaking of various intensities, according to FEMA. Northern New Jersey is put in a category that's low on the list and described as "having a hazard shaking of moderate intensity," which could be felt by all and could lead to slight damage.

McLeod’s dog, Jake, was outside begging to come in and was upset for a few minutes before settling down, she said. But about 15 minutes later the dog once again became upset.

“People always say dogs can sense when things are happening or about to happen,” she said.

Meanwhile, at Jersey Mac’s on Bloomfield Avenue in Caldwell, a restaurant owned by Megan McLeod's father, two women having lunch stopped their conversation when they felt the tremors.

Meryl Ravitz of New York City told her friend Joan Hillman of Caldwell that she felt something, and Hillman confirmed that she felt it, too.

“I used to live in California so I know it was an earthquake, because I know earthquakes, I've felt them before,” said Hillman, a former resident of San Francisco.

Hillman’s husband called her on her cell phone from New York City to let her know that he was okay, but that he was being evacuated from his offices at 30 Rockefeller Center.

While people throughout the county reported feeling the quake and shaking furniture in their homes and offices, some did not feel the subtle tremors.

“I can’t believe I didn’t feel it. I’m disappointed,” said Robert McLeod, Megan’s father. The owner of Jersey Mac’s was just a few yards away in the back of the restaurant from where patrons could feel the earth move. “I feel like I’m missing out.”

McLeod said he remembers feeling a quake in New Jersey about 20 years ago.

For a history of quakes in the Garden State, click here.

The USGS is asking those who felt the earthquake to fill out an online survey to assist their information gathering.

Gov. Chris Christie issued a statement just before 4 p.m. Tuesday, where he said so far, New Jersey seems to have escaped unscathed.

"At this time, no injuries or fatalities have been reported and there are no reports of damage to the state’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, dams, reservoirs, power grids, transit systems and nuclear power plants."

jo August 23, 2011 at 09:46 PM
Inside a 9 story highrise and I felt the whole thing. It was not scary at first because it started slowly & built. A flower arrangement was shaking slightly and it built to a lamp shade swaying and then the floor beneath my feet rumbling. That's when it became frightening and I was washed over with fear. it soon stopped as quickly as - over in less than 4 mins.
Danelectro59 August 23, 2011 at 10:27 PM
Our building in Summit is built on stilts, so we all started feeling a little dizzy at first, then we realized the building was swaying back and forth. Someone ran around yelling, "EARTHQUAKE! EARTHQUAKE! EVERYBODY RUN!!!", and all hell broke loose as we jammed the stairwells and headed out from under the building. It was a nice diversion on an otherwise dull Tuesday afternoon.
Cj August 24, 2011 at 12:25 PM
I was actually trying to hang a picture. In a closet trying to get a nail and hammer. I turned around and my door knob shook and I thought someone was trying to come in. I ran into the bedroom > How smart was that? haha I came back and no one came in and I quickly locked the door. I also heard my airconditioner move. A minute later I found out from a friend what happened

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