RICHMOND, Va. – A small earthquake shook central Virginia on Wednesday night, the U.S. Geological Survey said, but while it rattled nerves there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 3.2, happened at 9:47 p.m. and was centered 32 miles west of the capital of Richmond, the USGS said.
Local television stations reported that numerous residents of Amelia and Powhatan counties, and some from Richmond, called in saying they had felt the quake.
Amelia County Sheriff Rick Walker was quoted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch as saying that he was unaware of any reports of damage.
"So far, they just got a bunch of calls about the noise and the shaking," Walker said.
The newspaper quoted Powhatan County resident Carolyn Bishop as saying that the earthquake "sounded like a bomb," and shook her house for a second or two, but she didn't see anything fall to the floor.
The area has a history of seismic activity. In August 2011, a magnitude-5.8 earthquake centered near the central Virginia town of Mineral was felt from Georgia to Canada and caused cracks in the Washington monument that kept the 555-foot obelisk closed until just last week.
In Virginia, the 2011 quake damaged nearly 1,000 homes in Louisa County and permanently closed two schools. Dominion Virginia Power's North Anna Power Station also was shut down temporarily after measured ground movement was about twice the level for which the nuclear power plant was built. It was the first operating U.S. nuclear plant shut down because of an earthquake.
More than 450 aftershocks have been recorded since the August 2011 quake.