Earthquake Rocks East Coast04:45
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Susy Ward, center, and other office workers gather on the sidewalk in downtown Washington moments after an earthquake shook the nation's capitol. (AP)
Susy Ward, center, and other office workers gather on the sidewalk in downtown Washington moments after an earthquake shook the nation's capitol. (AP)

By: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON - U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Don Blakeman says people on the East Coast should be ready for aftershocks following a 5.9 earthquake this afternoon.

The quake, which struck at 1:51 Eastern time, was centered in central Virginia.

Federal officials say two nuclear reactors at the nearby North Anna Power Station were automatically taken off line by safety systems around the time of the earthquake. No damage has been reported at the facility.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Roger Hannah says the plant is being run off of four emergency diesel generators, which are supplying power for critical safety equipment.

The National Weather Service says no tsunami is expected.

In Washington, all the monuments along the National Mall were evacuated and closed. So were the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol.

Guest:

  • Tim Craig, Washington Post Reporter

This segment aired on August 23, 2011.

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