Friday Morning's Maryland Earthquake Felt in Northern Virginia
I used to be a deep sleeper. My Mom likes to tell a story demonstrating this that happened when I was thirteen and we were vacationing in a 14th story condo in Ocean City, MD. In the middle of the night, the fire alarms in the building went off. There were people panicking in the hallways, running to the elevators. The alarms rang for about fifteen minutes before the fire department arrived and declared the event a false alarm. Some drunken teenager had pulled the alarm as a prank. My Mom would love to have those fifteen minutes of her life back because she, my father and my brother were worried and scared. I slept through all the noise and chaos. She still can't understand how someone could sleep that deeply.
That is not how I sleep anymore. No. Now I'm a forty year old woman with five furry children and a husband. I worry about things. So when there is a noise in the middle of the night, nine times out of ten, I am awakened by it. If a fire alarm goes off, I am immediately out of the bed and dressing, running to find my cats. I know. It's happened. My own fire alarms went off shortly after moving to my home in 2005 and I was alert as soon as they started blaring.
This morning I was awakened at about 5 am by the bed shaking and my dresser drawer hardware vibrating. It wasn't violent, but it was definitely noticeable and sustained long enough to freak me out. We have blasting in the area, but at 5 am, that's not happening. We live a few miles from Manassas Regional Airport and I thought maybe there was a plane crash. When I didn't hear emergency sirens after ten or fifteen minutes, I thought that maybe I had imagined it. After all, James was still sound asleep beside me. After about thirty minutes of tossing and turning after, I managed to tell myself it was nothing and fall asleep.
Bright and early this morning, when my husband and I woke up, I told him about the 5 am incident and asked him to check to see if there had been an earthquake. He looked at me like I was nuts and gave me the, "Okay," you get from someone who thinks they are about to prove that you are full of crap. He was shocked to find this article on WTOP News Radio's website that declared there had been an earthquake around Germantown-Gaitherburg, MD. It was not a big earthquake and I'm sure my California friends will laugh at the 3.6 magnitude. The article on WTOP's website explains how our regional geography made this earthquake so easily noticed all the way out to West Virginia.
This isn't the first eathquake we've had that I recall noticing during the actual incident. Another happened when I was living in Fairfax in the late 80's or early 90's.. I still remember seeing some plaques on my wall vibrate. That one had originated in Columbia, MD. This morning's was much more alarming as we in Northern Virginia are not familiar with these events. An earthquake is not a great way to be awakened. Thank God it wasn't anything major.