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East Coast quake damages people's nerves and temple spires

By KSL.com  |  Posted Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 9:44pm


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WASHINGTON, D.C. — From the Carolina's to Martha's Vineyard, the earthquake that shook the East Coast Tuesday rattled the nerves of many people who had never felt an earthquake.

Just after noon, buildings began to shake along the Eastern seaboard. The 5.9 earthquake was the most powerful in Virginia in decades.

The shaking damaged Latter-day Saint temple in Washington, D.C., causing it to lose the tips of four of its spires. They were knocked off, as were some pieces of granite on the temple facing.

"We started finding chunks of marble and spires laying on the ground. They are about four feet long; the base of them are probably 4 inches square, and it comes up to a point," said Doug Wiggins, a North Carolina resident who was at the temple when the earthquake hit.


We started finding chunks of marble and spires laying on the ground. They are about four feet long ...

–Doug Wiggins


Don Olson, director of the temple's visitor center, called the quake a "pretty healthy shake," but said there was no serious internal damage to the temple of which he was aware.

The quake was centered northwest of Richmond, Va. At a new Walmart in King George, Va., former Utahn Sandy Miller and her daughter Eilee were startled while shopping.

"All of a sudden we could feel, like, waves; and we looked up and we could see the ceiling shaking and the walls," Miller said. "I was thinking our new Walmart wasn't built strong enough and it was going to collapse or something."

"It scared me," Eliee said.

The earthquake also shook New York City, where crowds felt it in Times Square and on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, which cleared out.

"What is unusual about this one is the size of the event; this one is significantly larger," said Dr. Harley Benz, of the U.S. Geological Survey.

"What is unusual about this one is the size of the event; this was significantly larger," said Dr. Harley Benz, with the U.S. Geological Survey.

There have been reports of injuries, but no one died in the quake.

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Written with contributions from Carole Mikita and the ksl.com news team.

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