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Earthquake Overview Icon Large

On Aug 23, 2011, Virginia experienced an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter Magnitude Scale — the largest earthquake to have occurred in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains in more than 100 years. Though the epicenter was 40 miles northwest of Richmond, the earthquake was still felt in Blacksburg and other Virginia Tech campuses across Virginia.

Although earthquakes are not as common in Virginia as they are on the West Coast of the United States, they are still significant enough occurrences to warrant being properly prepared for.

If an Earthquake Occurs in Your Area

  • If indoors, drop to the ground and take cover by getting under a sturdy table or a piece of furniture. Hold on until the shaking stops.
  • If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or heavy bookcases.
  • Use a doorway for shelter only if it is nearby and if you know it is a strongly supported.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to move about. Injuries most often occur when people inside buildings attempt to move during the earthquake. Beware of aftershocks.
  • If you are outdoors, stay there. Move away from buildings, street lights, and utility wires.