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East Coast Earthquake, One Year Later

East Coast Earthquake, One Year Later

One year after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Louisa County, Virginia, the landscape of the news media is still shaking.

Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 17:45

Inside Science Contributor

(Inside Science) -- One year after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Louisa County, Virginia, shaking most of the U.S. East Coast, aftershocks are still being felt -- at least across the landscape of the news media.

On LiveScience Charles Q. Choi (an occasional contributor to Inside Science News Service) offers a recap, which included some interesting tidbits of info. The most striking to me was that -- according to researchers -- nearly one-third of the population of the U.S. felt some shaking during last year's quake event.

Hank Silverberg at WTOP.com, the website for Washington, D.C.'s all-news radio station, wrote up a nice piece from the quake's epicenter. While most people along the East Coast felt the quake, most did not have to face any long-term consequences or inconveniences, unlike residents living in Mineral, Va., who are still dealing with the aftermath from the quake. Four of their schools were damaged -- two of them so badly that they had to be razed -- causing overcrowding conditions as students moved into portable trailer-like classrooms. According to the mayor, it may take up to four years until permanent schools can be rebuilt.

But the most common theme running across the anniversary coverage in the news seems to be the question "Could this happen again?"

Michael Blanpied, associate coordinator of the USGS's earthquake hazards program, said during a podcast from the U.S. Geological Survey that "the trouble with eastern U.S. earthquakes is they don't happen very often, and sometimes the faults on which they happen haven't had an earthquake for a very long time. Our trick is to figure out which one of those faults -- one of those many, buried, not very well-understood faults -- had an earthquake on it, back in August."

So one year later, things are pretty much back to normal across the Washington, D.C.-region, except for the Washington Monument -- which remains closed while crews continue repairs to fix cracks caused by last year's quake -- and ongoing repairs to the National Cathedral to fix the many damaged buttresses and adorning gargoyles.

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