7 years ago: 5.8 magnitude earthquake rattled the Jersey Shore

A red star denotes the location of the August 23, 2011 earthquake, and the dots represent the locations where people reported feeling the tremor to the United States Geological Survey. (Image: USGS)

A red star denotes the location of the August 23, 2011 earthquake, and the dots represent the locations where people reported feeling the tremor to the United States Geological Survey. (Image: USGS)

Seven years ago today, the Jersey Shore was rattled by an earthquake that experts say about one-third of the United States population also felt.

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered in the Piedmont region of Virginia struck at 1:51 p.m. Within seconds, frenzied social media uses posted about the experience, and cell phone lines became jammed.

The Jersey Shore didn’t experience any major structural damage, but residents reported items falling in the houses, and managers of some commercial and government buildings didn’t take any chances and ordered evacuations.

In Atlantic City, numerous high rise buildings were evacuated, and some beachgoers at the time said they feared a tsunami.

John Harvey told JSHN today that it was an experience that he’ll never forget.

“I almost fell off a ladder I was standing on. I’ve lived next to San Francisco now for two-and-a-half years, and it is STILL the strongest quake/shaking I’ve felt in my life,” he wrote.

While the August 2011 earthquake wasn’t centered in New Jersey, the state has experienced dozens of weaker local seismic events, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The latest felt in New Jersey include a 4.1 magnitude earthquake in Nov. 2017 and a “microearthquake” in June.

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