At 1:51PM eastern time we experienced a magnitude 5.8 earthquake. For the Californians out there this would probably be a minor blip but for us east coasters it was a major attention getter. An hour later it’s still impossible to get a cell call through and even calling landlines from a landline is spotty.

The shaking started slowly. I was typing at my desk and became aware of the desk and the floor shaking. As the shaking built, I stood up and could feel the floor moving under my feet. At the same time a low frequency rumbling became noticeable.

Given my office’s proximity to Dulles Airport, my first thought was that we had a very low pass from a jet but as the shaking increased and I became aware of the rumble, the thought that it had to be an earthquake began to percolate through my head.

After perhaps 20 seconds or so it subsided.

We evacuated the building briefly but it was quickly decided that there was no safety risk and they let us back in. I tried to reach people but cell phones were utterly useless. I did get a voicemail through and received a few but have only succeeded in getting one landline call through.

I’ve always wanted to experience a minor earthquake, something large enough to feel but not so large that it caused damage or casualties. After experiencing it, I’m not sure why I wanted to. It is truly unsettling to feel the floor moving under your feet. I don’t think I need to do that again.

Fortunately, everyone seems to be in one piece and there hasn’t been any major damage reported though I suppose reports will come in as more thorough inspections can be performed.

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