Va. earthquake felt on campus and parts of East Coast

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Virginia caused trembles on the Western Carolina University campus and throughout Western North Carolina on Tuesday afternoon.

According to Associated Press reports, the earthquake was centered northwest of Richmond, Va. at 1:51 p.m. ET and shook much of Washington, D.C. It was also felt as far north as Rhode Island, New York City and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., where President Barack Obama is vacationing.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was half a mile deep. Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Atlanta, Ga.. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The earthquake was centered near Louisa, Va., which is northwest of Richmond and south of Washington.

Alecia Page, Student Government Association Vice-President, was nervous after feeling trembles from the earthquake at the University Center on campus.

“We were in the SGA office when the University Center started to shake,” Page said. “I felt a bit shaken up and wondered if we should flee the UC.”

Michael Fitzwater, Director of Inter-Club Council for SGA, was also at the UC but was not as rattled by the earthquake.

“It was very intense, but it was pretty cool,” Fitzwater said.

Movement was also felt in classrooms at Western Carolina University.

I was in a class when it hit, but it didn’t really do much so my class wasn’t too worried about it,” said student Kristina Bartlett  “We did look around to see if anybody else felt it.”

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, earthquakes are not rare on the East Coast, but are usually smaller ones and Eastern states are less prepared than California or Alaska for shaking, where earthquakes are common.

Tuesday’s quake came a day after an earthquake in Colorado toppled groceries off shelves and caused minor damage to homes in the southern part of the state and in northern New Mexico. No injuries were reported.