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Planet Earth

Washington D.C. Area Has History of Quakes

Virginia Quake Graphic Capitol Building

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Mineral, Va., shook Washington, D.C., Tuesday, in what appears to be the largest earthquake to ever hit the region.

The Washington area has had small, infrequent earthquakes over the years, including a magnitude 2.3 quake in 1996 and magnitude 2.5 quake in 1997.

Just last year, a magnitude 3.6 quake shook the area but apparently caused no serious damage -- despite then being the strongest to hit within 30 miles of D.C. since the U.S. Geological Survey began keeping records in 1974. The previous record within that time period was a magnitude 2.6 temblor in 1990.

The U.S. experiences an average of 1,400 earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 5.0 each year, with only an average of 150 going above the 6.0 mark.

Tuesday's 5.8 magnitude quake struck 3.7 miles deep.

The Associated Press contributed to this report