Assignment: Open Story: East Coast earthquake
iREPORTERS SIGNED UP
Created August 23, 2011 by
(CNN) -- An earthquake a magnitude of 5.8 struck Tuesday near Richmond, Virginia, and the nation's capital, sending shock waves up and down the East Coast.
The Washington Monument was closed indefinitely as engineers studied ways to repair cracks at the top of the capital's iconic structure. Washington's National Cathedral also was closed after sustaining what its staff described as "substantial damage," including numerous cracks in the building's limestone blocks and broken pinnacles on its towers.
Near the epicenter -- Mineral, Virginia -- Louisa County Sheriff's Lt. Roy "Snake" McGehee said he had heard of no injuries. "We've had some structural damage," he said. "My wife said the house shook pretty good." He'd felt three aftershocks in the hour after the initial quake.
Mineral resident Desi Fleming said the quake arrived with a rumbling "that sounded like a train coming to a stop." It knocked down two chimneys on the converted 1900-vintage home that now houses her parcel-shipping business.
The quake, which struck at 1:51 p.m., was shallow -- just 3.7 miles deep -- and was located 88 miles southwest of Washington and 58 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia, the USGS said.