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Earthquake Shakes, Rattles and Rolls


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Published on: Friday, July 16, 2010

By Nick Coletta

If you felt the earth move Friday morning...you weren't alone.

According to local officials a temblor in the range of 3.6 on the richter scale struck in Montgomery County just after 5 a.m. with an epicenter in German Town near Roberto Clemente Middle School.

The 3.6 magnitude earthquake that struck near Gaithersburg at 5:04 a.m. Friday is one of the largest earthquakes that Maryland has ever felt, said Bill Leith, an Advanced National Seismic System Coordinator for USGC.

According to, the calls and e-mails are pouring in from people describing their experience with this earthquake.

We have had more than 12,000 reports of people telling us what they felt,” Leith said. “None of the reports mentioned injury or property damage.”

Montgomery County Police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said that the police have also not received any reports of injury; however, there may have been some property damage.

“Fortunately, we have not received any reports of injury,” Baur said. “There was one report of a leak to a natural gas tank on Crabbs Branch Road It’s unknown if the leak was caused by the earthquake.

Baur said that the tank with the detected leak was shut off and had no impact on the public because it was a county refueling site.

A Rockville City Police dispatcher, who wished to remain unanimous, said that she has received 10 calls since the start of her shift at 7.a.m. She said that the dispatcher before her received more than 10 calls, and they began just minutes after the earthquake struck.

Leith said that the earthquake was very broadly felt, and reached distances of 30-to-50 miles. It could be felt in parts of Maryland Virginia, , D.C. and Pennsylvania.

“I was 20 miles away and it woke me up,” Leith said.

According to Leith, the epicenter is located in Gaithersburg, but there is uncertainty its exact location.

“There is always some uncertainty when locating the exact center of an earthquake,” Leith said. “It’s likely that there will be a revision to the coordinates of the center.”

Mother Nature is the culprit of the early morning disturbance, according to Leith.

“This earthquake was due to natural causes,” Leith said. “It happened from the long-term motion of the earth.”

“Earthquakes that occur in Maryland are infrequent and rather weak,” Leith said.

Maryland experienced its last earthquake on Oct. 8, 2007, according to the USGS website.It was documented at 1.7 magnitude about 5 miles northwest of Baltimore.

Reader Comments - 2 Total

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Posted By: Zion On: 7/22/2010

Title: God protected us!

I have continously resided in Maryland for the past 6 years and half and never experienced an earthquake until last Friday. At the border of Maryland and DC I was in an office building where I was shaken and the heavy thunder storm like noice still halluciniates in my ear. At that moment, though scared with audibility of the noice, I prayed that "God protect the US and the people". Praise the Lord it was just for few seconds.

Posted By: Jose Silver Spring MD On: 7/17/2010

Title: Quake

It was something...




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