Earthquake Rocks Philly, Entire East Coast

USGS confirms a 5.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the East Coast

By Kelly Bayliss and Dan Stamm
|  Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011  |  Updated 5:35 AM EDT
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The Franklin Institute's Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts, who is also a geologist, explains why we here in Philly felt the Va. earthquake and why aftershocks happened.

NBCPhiladelphia.com - Tracy Davidson, Tim Lake

The Franklin Institute's Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts, who is also a geologist, explains why we here in Philly felt the Va. earthquake and why aftershocks happened.

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Photos and Videos

Ted Greenberg, His Wife and Daughter Cover the Quake

The Greenbergs were at the Cherry Hill Mall shopping when the quake hit.
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Philadelphia is regrouping following an earthquake that rocked the east coast Tuesday afternoon.

The United States Geological Service confirms that the a 5.8 magnitude struck rural Virginia at 1:51 p.m. EST. It was felt a little while later in our area.

The quake, which lasted about 30 seconds, was centered in Mineral, Va., but was felt as far south as Georgia, as far west as Illinois and as far north as Maine.

Buildings, including City Hall, the Cherry Hill Mall and Holy Family University, were evacuated following the quake. There was also a report of a gas leak around Craig Drive in Deptford Township, according to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.

The Penn Street Bridge in Reading was closed due to damage.

All PATCO services was suspended but was restored after 4 p.m. PATCO representatives say that delays are still to be expected.

SEPTA placed speed restrictions of 25 mph on all rail lines following the quake, but  the restrictions were later lifted. SEPTA's Broad Street Line south of Walnut and Locust Streets was also up and running following a short service suspension after an investigation into damage reports.

The City of Philadelphia says that at this time only minor building damage has been reported in Philadelphia. (click here to see full statement from the city)

Other cities also released statements.

Camden's mayor Dana L. Redd assures residents the city's "...top concern since the earthquake was first felt has been the health and safety of our residents and employees. We are currently canvassing the city to ensure the structural integrity of buildings are not compromised and we remain in constant communication with all our emergency management personnel partners."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says "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."

The Phillies also issued a release regarding Tuesday night's game:

After inspection, there has been no evidence of any damage or distressed conditions to the building or any of the systems at Citizens Bank Park.  Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. Phillies - Mets game will be played as scheduled.

Police are asking that residents not call 9-1-1 unless it is an actual emergency.

No serious injures or deaths were reported. We'll keep you updated with details as they come in.


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