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There wasn’t much question about it. Even people who had little experience feeling earthquakes quickly realized what was happening around 1:55 pm. The earthquake was centered in Louisa County about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, and it registered almost six on the Richter scale.

Susan Grice was among those who felt it. She works at Rocky Top Building Products in Rocky Mount, where she says everything in the office started to shake:

[audio:|titles=08-23 Grice Bite1-WEB]

Ann Hollins also felt it in her New Castle home:

[audio:|titles=08-23 Hollins BIte1-WEB]

Steve Carlisle at Blue Note Music in Salem has experienced a minor earthquake before in eastern Virginia, but he says it was nothing like this:

[audio:|titles=08-23 Carlisle Bite1-WEB]

John Briscoe lives near the Norfolk Southern tracks in Thaxton, and his first thought turned to the railroad:

[audio:|titles=08-23 Briscoe Bite1-WEB]

The earthquake forced the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and all the monuments on the National Mall in Washington. Two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station in the same county as the epicenter were automatically taken off line.