Earthquake rattles Mid-Atlantic region

The USGS reports a 4.4 magnitude earthquake near Dover, Delaware.

The USGS reports a 4.4 magnitude earthquake near Dover, Delaware. (USGS)

A 4.1 magnitude earthquake occurred near Dover, Delaware, late Thursday afternoon.

The U.S. Geological Service reported that the earthquake occurred at 4:48 p.m. 6 miles northeast of Dover in the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, at a depth of 5 miles.

Gary L. Laing, a spokesman with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, said as of 6:16 p.m., that there were no reports of damage or injuries.

As a precaution, DEMA is warning residents who use propane gas who suspect a leak to shut off the valve from outside and vacate the dwelling or building.

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The quake jolted downtown Dover, sending lawmakers and workers in the statehouse outdoors to see what happened.

John Bellini, a geophysicist with USGS, said any damage would be limited. “It would mostly be a few items knocked from shelves, cracks in plaster,” he said.

Sgt. Rene Carberry, a spokeswoman at Dover Air Force Base, said people on the military installation felt the quake; some went outside to see if something had fallen down. Carberry, who is from the West Coast, said she told co-workers, “I’m pretty sure this is an earthquake.”

She said there were no signs of damage at the base, and no change was expected in its operations.

The jolt was strong enough in downtown Baltimore that a smattering of residents streamed out of office towers and into the streets. Husam Albarmawi, a 30-year-old graduate student at the University of Maryland, rushed out of an apartment tower with his wife when they felt two separate jolts, roughly 20 seconds apart, in their 23rd-story apartment.

“When we felt it we looked at each other like, ‘Are we losing it?'” said Albarmawi as they ventured back upstairs after waiting for a few minutes outside. “It was actually pretty scary and pretty surprising.

Jersey Shore Hurricane News contributors reported feeling the shaking along the Jersey Shore and beyond.

The National Tsunami Warning Center said there was no tsunami threat.

Justin Auciello, Cris Barrish and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

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