Seismic Considerations in New York City and Washington DC

Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (1)
Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral

The U.S.G.S. recently reported that an earthquake struck the Washington, D.C. area with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 (later updated to 5.9). Initial reports of damage are minor however the National Cathedral’s central tower sustained some damage. “It looks like three of the pinnacles have broken off the central tower,” spokesman Richard Weinberg said of the tower, the highest point in Washington, D.C.

Update: The Cathedral has sustained some substantial damage due to the earthquake, and experts are currently assessing the structural and aesthetic damage. For a video of the Cathedral damage, or to help join the efforts of preserving the Cathedral click here.

Update: You can also see the effects of the earthquake on a building in Virginia here.

Felt in Philadelphia, , Boston, New York City, Martha’s Vineyard, and even , West Virginia, the tremor raises questions of the importance of seismic considerations particularly in New York City.

Although earthquakes are not something a typical New Yorker would have cross their mind in comparison to other parts of the world such as Japan (8.9 magnitude in 2011) and Chile (8.8 magnitude in 2010), the overal size and density of NYC puts it at a high risk for extensive damage.

More photographs of the Washington National Cathedral and discussion regarding seismic considerations following the break.

Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (2) Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (14) Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (12) Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (10)