Delaware geological researchers track quake effects, possibility of aftershocks

The Delaware Geological Survey is tracking the possibility of aftershocks as well as still receiving reports from people who felt the effects of Tuesday's earthquake centered in Virginia.

The shaking led to evacuations in Wilmington and resulted in chunks of rock falling from Saint Thomas the Apostle Church on Bancroft Parkway. Throughout the state crews began to inspect the condition of roads, bridges, gas lines and other facilities. So far no damage to the infrastructure has been found.

DGS Geologist and Research Associate Stephanie Baxter says this goes down as the strongest earthquake on the east coast since 1886. Also, there's a reason why something centered south of Washington was felt so strongly not just in Delaware, but up and down the east coast: we have older, solid rocks with a relative lack of fault lines.

"The seismic energy when its released actually travels at a great velocity," Baxter says.

An earthquake that was centered in the Delaware River near Claymont shook the region in 1973. It was a magnitude 3.8, compared to the 5.8 quake that was centered this week in Mineral, Virginia. According to Baxter, Tuesday's quake generated about a thousand times more energy than the Delaware quake of '73.

Meanwhile, Baxter says some aftershocks have been recorded and there is the potential for more of them. "They are unpredictable. I would certainly expect there to be more rumblings in the weeks to come," Baxter says.

The DGS encourages Delawareans to visit their website and answer questions about their experience with this earthquake, as well as any events in the future. Hundreds had already done so by midday Wednesday. Baxter says findings will be examined to develop an intensity map which will show where the earthquake was strongest in the First State.


For questions and information, contact DGS at, 302-831-2833

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