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Magnitude 3.6 earthquake shakes Jefferson

By Staff | Jul 16, 2010

Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Barbara J. Miller reported to work early today to field calls from residents from across the county about reports of tremors after an earthquake struck shortly after 5 a.m..

The U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude 3.6 earthquake at 5:04 a.m. in the Potomac-Shenandoah region, with the epicenter recorded about 10 miles northwest of Rockville, Md.

The 911 Center in Jefferson County reported getting calls from local residents that felt the effects of the earthquake. Most people are reporting they heard a loud “boom” followed by tremors that lasted from 10 to 30 seconds, Miller said. Others described the sound as a train rumbling through the area.

She also noted many residents reported their pets seemed to be aware of the quake a few moments before it was perceived by people.

No damages have been reported in our County, and no action is required at this time, says Miller.

Reports came in to Miller from all over Jefferson County. She says early indications show the effects were felt into Berkeley County and as far away as Charles County, Md.

Miller said an All-Hazards Risk Assessment conducted in 2003 showed geological faults that indicate earthquakes – usually small ones – can strike in our area.

“We’ve known for quite some time that we do have earthquake hazards,” Miller said.

Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management is in the process of mapping the areas of the county where it was felt. Call the agency at (304) 728-3329 to report it if you felt the quake.

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As of this afternoon, there have not been any aftershocks to this morning’s 3.6 magnitude earthquake reported yet. However, in light of the fact that aftershocks remain a possibility, JCHSEM wished to remind residents of the following protective actions that should be taken if another earthquake is felt:

During an earthquake if you are:


Take cover under a desk, table, or bench. If none is available, use an inside wall or doorway.

Stay away from windows, outside doors, walls, and anything that could shatter or fall on you.

If you’re sleeping, stay in bed and cover your head with a pillow. If your bed is under a heavy light fixture or you have a large mirror or painting over your headboard, move to the nearest safe place.

Stay inside until the shaking stops. Most injuries during an earthquake occur when people enter or exit a structure.


Stay there and move away from buildings, streetlights, and overhead utility wires.


Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.

Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped, watching for road and bridge damage.

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As always, if you have an emergency, call 911.