-- HealthDay staff
TUESDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- A rare -- for the East
Coast -- earthquake rumbled up and down the eastern seaboard of
North America Tuesday afternoon, jumbling nerves as far south as
Atlanta and as far north as Canada.
The 5.8-magnitude quake was centered near Louisa, Va., about 85
miles southwest of Washington, D.C. The shaking forced the
evacuations of all the monuments on the National Mall in
Washington, D.C., as well as partial evacuations of the Pentagon,
the White House and the Capitol, according to the
Associated Press. And it prompted workers to walk out of office buildings in cities from Baltimore to Boston.
The quake was felt as far north as Toronto, as far west as
Indiana and Kentucky and as far south as Georgia.
There were no reports of serious injuries from the temblor,
which struck shortly before 2 p.m. eastern time. According to media
reports, cell phone service was disrupted in some centers, probably
due to a high volume of calls.
The quake did cause operators of two nuclear reactors in the
same county as Louisa, Va., to take the plants off line as a
precaution so safety systems could be examined, the
AP reported, citing a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
"It's a minor earthquake," said Dr. Charles Marmar, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. "Most people will go about their business without any distress."
But, he added, people who have experienced traumatic events such
as the terrorist attack of Sept. 11 or combat may have more severe
"Sometimes people with mental illness can be more affected if they overgeneralize the threat; some people who have previous exposure to very severe traumatic events could be more affected," Marmar said.
"If someone were very heavily exposed to 9/11 or to combat or other stresses, they might be more unsettled by this. But, in general people do well."
For more details on the quake, visit the
U.S. Geological Survey.
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