A 4.1 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter about six miles east-northeast of Dover, Delaware rattled the East Coast this afternoon and was felt as far north as New York City and as far south as Baltimore and Washington, DC. Officials with the United States Geological Service said the quake was about five miles below the surface, which is considered shallow for an earthquake. The shallowness of the quake amplified its effects, so it was felt further and more strongly than a deeper but equally powerful quake would have been felt.
Initial reports gave the magnitude as 5.1, which was later downgraded to 4.4. Later, after analyzing data from multiple monitoring stations, the USGS downgraded the magnitude again.
Rattled users took to Twitter to determine if they’d felt something real or merely imagined things:
The quake was not strong enough to cause significant damage, resulting in relief soon followed by amusement, as somber confirmations of no damages gave way to a series of tongue-in-cheek damage reports.
Even in Delaware, where the epicenter was located and the shaking was the strongest, the state emergency management agency reported no damage or injury reports.
Though shaking was felt in New Jersey, officials were quick to announce that nuclear power plants were neither damaged nor forced to go offline.
Someone in Philadelphia took to social media to announce a casualty in the city:
Philadelphia also reported its share of damages:
Meanwhile, another damage report came in from the nation’s capital.
The DC suburbs felt it too.
Not everybody in the earthquake zone actually felt anything, however. (Certain types of building materials handle earthquakes better than others; people inside unreinforced concrete, stone or brick buildings, or on floors higher than ground level, were probably most likely to feel or notice shaking.)
Those who missed out often expressed disappointment.