Mid-Atlantic Region 5.9 Earthquake

While our attention was focused on the potential impact of Hurricane Irene, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the Mid-Atlantic region with its epicenter at Mineral, Virginia.  Mineral is about 35 miles from my location in Charlottesville.  I didn’t feel it because I was walking across campus to attend a meeting;  however, staff here at the UVA Health Sciences Library reported heavy shaking and an overall scary event.  Fortunately, I have heard no reports of any injuries and buildings are being checked for any structural damage.

We’re not accustomed to earthquakes of this magnitude, and many of us will be performing After Action Reviews in the near future to assess how we responded to the event and determine if any adjustments need to be made.

Added note: After I heard about the earthquake I used my cell phone to call our Service Desk and was unable to get through.  I tried a number of times with various numbers in the library and none of the calls went through.  Remember, you may not be able to use your cell phone following some kind of shared dangerous or potentially dangerous event like an earthquake when everyone is calling others to see if they are okay.

A recent news release from FEMA regarding cell phone usage:

“Due to overload of cell phone usage, there are reports of cell phone congestion.  We request that members of the public use email or text messages if possible to communicate for the next few hours, except in cases of emergency, so that emergency officials can continue to receive and respond to urgent calls. We encourage everyone in the affected areas to listen to the direction of their local officials. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”