A year ago Thursday, an area known for its political shakeups was shaken by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake.
The rattling began at 1:51 p.m. with an epicenter in central Virginia, about 84 miles from the Washington, D.C. metro region where many in the midst of their workday felt the shaking.
Any damage to the Centreville and Chantilly area was quite minimal, but it was certainly an event that most people will remember for a long time.
At Bull Run Elementary School, election officials had to set up the voting booths outside after the quake. There were concerns that the building had suffered some damage, so for safety's sake, voters cast their ballots outdoors.
Perhaps the local who might remember the quake most vividly, though, is Barbara Prescop, a former teacher at Rocky Run Middle School who was vacationing by normally-peaceful Lake Anna in Mineral, Va. Prescop was walking outdoors when all of a sudden "the ground started rolling. It sounded like thunder," she recounted last year.
One year and 450 aftershocks later, scientists are still learning about 2011 quake and the fault lines responsible for it.
Earthquakes in this region are rare, but the 2011 tremor didn’t come as a complete shock to scientists who’d already pegged the Central Virginia seismic zone as one with an elevated risk for an earthquake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
For 10 days in mid-July, USGS scientists conducted geophysical surveys by air over Louisa, Goochland and Flavanna counties in Central Virginia near Richmond, according to the agency.
Learning more about geological features and mapping the fault lines in the area will help seismologists learn more about the Central Virginia seismic zones.
More stories about the 2011 earthquake: