No photographs (of what happened), because most of us were sleeping or getting up and most everyone I know doesn’t sleep with their hand on their cameras. I can tell you that last night about 11:30PM or there about, I heard a weird deep grumbling and I wondered if it was a low flying aircraft. Two nights before there was a sudden thunderstorm with pelting rain and booming lightening strikes close-by, which rumbled and made our whole building tremble. I wanted to hide under the bed but when it became quiet and the rain stopped, almost as soon as it had begun, I resumed my position on the sofa where I have been reclining in order to stay calm and keep my breathing to as close to normal as possible. Asthma is so tiresome! Well, I was asleep on the sofa and Joe was getting ready for bed, when @ 5:04 AM he said he felt a deep grumbling and what felt like a very heavy cargo train zoom past our condo, which isn’t likely, as the train tracks are a mile away. He said it took about 20 seconds to finish. When it was over he woke me and we went to the big sleep bed. He was wise to share this information with me after we got up this morning. He was watching MSNBC and they said Washington, DC Metro area had a 3.6 Earthquake and it centered in our town!
Thirty years ago, someone told me that Northern Virginia, Western Maryland, and the whole of the DC area lies on a fault line. I recall as a young girl I would sometimes feel an almost imperceptible movement within my body, like that of sloshing water against the side of the pool after someone has done a cannonball. I was a barefoot child so I tended to notice these small movements. And, over the years there have been almost daily tiny earthquakes in the Columbia, MD region.
I phoned my homeowner insurance company and bought earthquake insurance. Better be covered than to wish I had made that call. It is a very small amount and I was surprised at the economical price. My agent shared with me that we are not really in an earthquake zone (I sure hope he is correct), and that Allegheny County and Garret Counties (The two western most counties), were on the fault line. That isn’t all that far away and I hope we do not get anymore. Really! Really! Really!
So, if the earthquake happened at 5:04 AM … then what in the world did I hear hours before? It sure wasn’t a plane because the sound wasn’t coming from the sky. I am going to check out a gological website to see if I can find out some more information.
Update: Some residents at the epicenter (where the earthquake started), describe it as “A washing machine spinning but off-balanced, getting louder and louder”. “Intense vibratory shaking, like someone grabbed me and shook me back-and-forth”. “The bed trembled and the dog was shaken off the end of the bed”. “I heard a loud boom and my tree fell in the backyard”. It’s just a few miles from where we live, and the lady on the ground floor said “It woke me up and I could see the window shaking. I thought they were going to fall in on my bed”. And my friend Sandi told me “It woke me up and I heard and felt it for the last five seconds”.
I noticed on the map there is a large lake leading on a bee-line to the epicenter, where there is a small lake. I think they might have something to do with the fault line. What lies beneath? Scenes of the movie “2012” keep popping up in my mind.
Photos Getty and Geology