Ten years ago: Earthquake rattles East Coast

Photo of earthquake repairs at the Washington Monument by contractor Lorton Stone of Springfield, Va.

Ten years ago today, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck in central Virginia, leaving behind millions of dollars in damages and a rattled East Coast.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the Aug. 23, 2011 quake may have been felt by more people than any other earthquake in U.S. history. The USGS received more than 100,000 responses to the agency’s “Did You Feel It?” map in the hours after the shaking stopped, and estimates one-third of the U.S. population felt the temblor.

It was felt across the Outer Banks, too, and added to already high anxiety ahead of Hurricane Irene, which struck just 72 hours later.

The quake also marked the first time that a fault zone in the eastern United States produced a magnitude 5 or higher earthquake “clearly delineated by aftershocks,” according to the USGS report.

All those rattling aftershocks following the quake helped the USGS locate the new fault zone, which scientists named the “Quail” fault zone.

“Most of these aftershocks were in the Quail fault zone, and outlying clusters of shallow aftershocks helped researchers to identify and locate other active faults,” the USGS said in a news release.

The quake caused an estimated $200-300 million in damages in central Virginia and the D.C. area, including severe damage to the Washington Monument and the Washington National Cathedral. The Washington Monument was closed for more than two years while repairs were made.

  • Click here for raw video inside the Washington Monument during the quake

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.