It may be the most powerful nation on Earth, but even the mighty USA can do nothing to either prevent or even anticipate the fury of mother nature when she unleashes her awesome power.
America today suffered a 5.9 magnitude earthquake, centered in Virginia, but very much felt by people from Boston through to the capitol and North Carolina. Both the White House and the Pentagon, along with Congressional buildings were evacuated, and two nuclear reactors were taken offline as a precaution.
Quake epicenter was near the town of Mineral, 85 miles from Washington , and 3.7 miles deep within the earth, close by the nuclear power plants mentioned. People were deserting buildings in droves, as Washington, D.C. shook noticeably, alarms sounding and park areas as well as sidewalks packed with people trying to get away from danger.
Tremors were felt as far north as New Hampshire, though no serious damage was reported, even from those in Mineral, where the shaking was worst. New York Times building staff commented on feeling the entire building shifting slightly, office furniture moving. As the tall buildings in New York swayed, people ran out into the street.
Baltimore artist Lisa Lewenz, working in her basement studio, started feeling movement under her feet, and ran upstairs to experience her glassware shaking around for almost 60 seconds, though things settled down after that. Phone lines were temporarily affected, so she could not reach friends that way.
Other reports included that of a man describing how his house seemed to be tilting as he ate lunch, in Charlottesville, while a woman serving jury duty in Washington saw surrounding buildings shedding dust, as the quake set them shaking.
Though this was not an earthquake of anything like the magnitude of others in recent history that have caused so much devastation, it was a grim reminder to the American people that everybody on the planet is at the mercy of the natural world, and that nowhere on earth is ever truly safe.