Earthquake Rattles, Puzzles East Coast

August 24, 2011  |  

(AP) — For a few minutes from Georgia to Maine, the question rang out: What was that? The answer — a rare East Coast earthquake, magnitude 5.8 — was far down on the list for most not used to the earth shaking beneath them.  In Washington and New York, their nerves still raw, thoughts instantly turned to terrorism. In small towns and rural areas near the epicenter and elsewhere, guesses ran the gamut: A truck crash or train derailment. A plane breaking the sound barrier. Worse, a nuclear reactor exploding.  There ended up being no known deaths or serious injuries, but cracks appeared in the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral, which had three capstones break off its tower. Windows shattered and grocery stores were wrecked in Virginia, where the quake was centered. The White House and Capitol were evacuated.

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