A 5.9 magnitude earthquake shook the Northeastern U.S. on Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of the Pentagon in Washington D.C., airports in New York and Philadelphia, and the NYMEX, among other things.
The earthquake’s epicenter was located in central Virginia, 27 miles East of Charlottesville, and hit exactly ay 1:51 PM at a depth of 0.6 miles.
No causalities have been reported, but the ripples were felt across major cities in the Northeast. In New York, a few buildings were forced to evacuate. While the NYMEX was closed, the New York Stock Exchange remained in operation.
Equity markets slightly dipped on the news but quickly bounced back. In a strong day for equities, the Nasdaq led the way, up 3.1% to 2,418 points. The S&P 500 was up 2.3% to 1,149 points while the Dow gained 2% to 11,070.
The command tower at the JFK international airport in New York was evacuated, along with airports in DC and Philadelphia, forcing flights to be grounded in those cities. In D.C., the National Mall and its monuments were closed, while the Pentagon and the Capitol were evacuated.
CNBC reported that two nuclear reactors in a power plant close to the epicenter were taken offline.
President Obama was reportedly playing golf at Martha’s Vineyard, where the trembling was felt. The President is safe and has been briefed about the situation. While the relatively low magnitude of the quake leads many to believe the situation is overblown, the unpreparedness of the East Coast could lead to severe disruptions particularly in public transport, transit, and air travel.