DOVER, Del. – A rare earthquake jolted the Mid-Atlantic region of the East Coast on Thursday evening, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the 4.1 magnitude quake struck just after 4:45 p.m., and was centered about 6 miles (10 kilometers) east-northeast of Dover, Delaware. People from as far away as Washington and New York City reported that they felt the movement.
The quake jolted downtown Dover, sending lawmakers and workers in the statehouse outdoors to see what happened. Police and emergency officials did not have any immediate reports of damage or injuries.
John Bellini, a geophysicist USGS's earthquake information center in Colorado, 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 it; 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."
The Maryland Emergency Management Office said the earthquake was felt by many in the state neighboring Delaware to the west. The agency tweeted that people should "drop, cover and hold on if you feel the earth move."