Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Politics

The Real Beltway Rumble

There are plenty of earthquakes of the political kind in D.C. -- a lawmaker sex scandal, a bribery revealed, or a surprise resignation -- but rare is the occasion that an actual earthquake wakes up the beltway.

Friday at 5:04 a.m. ET a 3.6-magnitude quake rattled the Washington area, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). It’s one of the largest shakes ever recorded in the region, and is still considered a pretty minor one, but surprised area residents and provided plenty of water cooler fodder. U.S. Capitol Police said the tremor could be felt in and around the Capitol Hill complex. And just down the way at the White House, U.S. Secret Service also reported it shook one of their booths. There has been no reported damage or injury at either location or the rest of the Washington area.

Just before heading to a mini-vacation in Maine, President Obama gave a statement about the BP spill update and was asked if he felt the earthquake. “I didn’t,” he said.

Earthquakes in the region don’t happen that often, but they’re also not all that unusual. The USGS notes that President John Quincy Adams in 1828 had a diary entry from the White House describing one, “The window shutters rattled as if shaken by the wind,” and in 1884 workmen on top of the unfinished Washington monument could feel one too.

Here's a list of recent quakes that could be felt in the D.C. region, including Maryland and Virginia:

2008 - 2.0 magnitude

2003 - 3.9 magnitude

1993 - 2.7 magnitude 1984 - 4.1 magnitude

So, are there any trends on when the quakes happen and who's in charge?  Well, Presidents Reagan and Nixon both had California roots, and there was the 1984 tremor during Reagan's term.  USGS couldn't provide any info on any significant tremors from Nixon's years in office (at least of the seismic kind).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the first speaker of the house from California, and under her leadership there have now been two quakes.

Coincidence? Probably.

But that still makes for even more beltway watercooler chatter.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.