|USGS Shakemap Image|
My first thought upon hearing the news of the rare 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Virginia this week was that it was not a natural occurrence. After all, no one has ever felt or even heard of such a powerful temblor happening in this area in a lifetime. As is usual for my cynical instincts, I hoped that I was wrong. However, several anomalies indicate that something is not normal with the Virginia quake.
First, I spend a lot of time in the “Ring of Fire” zone and have experienced numerous earthquakes. By no means does this make me an expert, nor scientifically qualified to analyze earthquakes. But, as enthusiasts, we looked up every quake we felt over a five-year period — the size, epicenter location, depth, and so on, to get a general sense of placing how it “felt” relative to the official data.