Earthquakes in Virginia

These are all the largest earthquakes that have occurred in Virginia since the 1700s. Virginia was in the news regarding earthquakes recently since the largest earthquake in over 100 years struck in central Virginia in August of 2011. That earthquake was

Listed here are the largest earthquakes that occurred in the state of Virginia dating back to the 1700s. In August of 2011, a large earthquake struck in central Virginia which I felt for a good 10 seconds in my home in northern New Jersey. The earthquake in Virginia caused buildings to be evacuated in Washington, D.C, Philadelphia and New York.

Earthquakes in Virginia

Image Source (Government workers evacuating the Pentagon after the August 23, 2011 earthquake in Virginia)

February 21, 1774: an intensity VIII earthquake struck in southern Virginia that knocked some houses off foundations in Petersburg and Blanford, south of Richmond. The quake was heavily felt in Richmond but did not cause any reported damage.

March 9, 1828: an intensity V earthquake struck in southwestern Virginia which President John Quincy Adams felt in Washington, D.C. and wrote about in his diary. Adams said it felt like a ship at seas heaving to.

August 27, 1833: an intensity V earthquake struck in Virginia which caused the deaths of two miners in Dover Mills, 30 miles northwest of Richmond. This earthquake rattled windows in Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, and Lynchburg, Virginia.

April 29, 1852: an intensity VI earthquake caused damage to chimneys in Buckingham and Wytheville, Virginia.

August 31, 1861: a large intensity VI earthquake struck in southern Virginia or northern North Carolina that was felt as far away as Louisville, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Columbus, Georgia. This quake occurred during the early stages of the Civil War.

December 22, 1875: an intensity VII earthquake struck in central Virginia that knocked over chimneys in Manakin, and damaged other chimneys in Goochland and Powhatan counties. Some windows were reported broken in Richmond.

May 31, 1897: a 5.9 magnitude earthquake, the largest earthquake in Virginia history, struck in Giles County in the western part of the state. This earthquake caused significant damage in Pearisburg, Virginia, and also caused damage to chimneys in Roanoke, Pulaski and Bedford City in Virginia, as well as in Raleigh, North Carolina and Knoxville, Tennessee.

Many aftershocks from this large earthquake occurred in the Giles County area through June 6, and then on June 28, September 3, and October 21, 1897. On February 5, 1989, an intensity VI earthquake or aftershock struck near Pulaski, Virginia that damaged some chimneys.

February 11, 1907: an intensity VI earthquake struck in central Virginia, west of Richmond, that caused damage in Arvonia, Ashby and Buckingham.

April 9, 1918: an intensity VI earthquake struck in the Shenandoah Valley that broke windows in the Washington, D.C. area. President Woodrow Wilson and his family felt this earthquake at the White House.


September 5, 1919: an intensity VI earthquake struck in the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwestern Virginia that damaged chimneys and caused other minor damage in Rappahannock and Warren counties.

December 26, 1929: an intensity VI earthquake struck in the Charlottesville, Virginia area that caused some chimney damage.

April 23, 1959: a 3.8 magnitude earthquake struck in Giles County that caused damage in Pembroke, including a downed chimney at the train station in Eggleston, Virginia.

November 11, 1975: an intensity VI earthquake struck in western Virginia in the counties of Giles and Montgomery that broke windows and knocked plaster off walls.

May 5, 2003: a 3.9 magnitude earthquake struck in Virginia about 30 miles southeast of Charlottesville. This quake was felt in Washington, D.C., and parts of Maryland.


December 9, 2003: a 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck in two events about 12 seconds apart in central Virginia about 26 miles west of Richmond. This earthquake was felt all over Virginia, as well as in parts of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina.

August 23, 2011: the second largest earthquake in Virginia's known history struck when a 5.8 magnitude quake occurred in central Virginia about five miles from the town of Mineral. This earthquake was felt for very long distances. It caused the ground under my home in New Jersey to shake for as long as 10 seconds. Buildings were evacuated in Manhattan, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia as a result of this earthquake.

March 25, 2012: a 3.1 magnitude earthquake struck again near Mineral, Virginia that was felt in much of central Virginia. This could have been an aftershock of the bigger earthquake seven months earlier.

For more see Largest Earthquakes in World History

Earthquakes in New York

Earthquakes in Texas

Earthquakes in Pennsylvania

Largest Earthquakes in New York City History


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