2011 Louisa County Earthquake

On August 23, 2011, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 struck Louisa County in Mineral, Virginia, causing extensive damage.

Damages

  • North Anna Nuclear Generating Station
  • Charlottesville Gas Leak
  • Lake Jackson Dam
  • Washington Monument

Financial Impact

The 2011 Louisa County earthquake caused between $200 and $300 million in damages, of
which only about $100 million was insured.

Distance

The furthest landslide from the epicenter was 150 miles (greatest distance recorded from any earthquake of similar magnitude).

Damage reported as far away as Brooklyn, NY.

Felt by more people than any other quake in U.S. history: An estimated 1/3 of the U.S. population felt the earthquake across more than a dozen states.

Additional Information

Virginia’s past seismic activity is concentrated in three primary areas: the Central Virginia seismic zone (CVSZ), the Giles County seismic zone (GCSZ), and the Eastern Tennessee seismic zone (ETSZ).

The CVSZ is located within the central Piedmont along the James River and includes the counties of Fluvanna, Goochland, Cumberland, Powhatan, Louisa, Albemarle, Buckingham, Hanover, and Chesterfield, and the cities of Richmond and Charlottesville.

The GCSZ is along the New River Valley in Giles County, and extends to the southwest, and includes parts of Pulaski, Bland, Wythe, Montgomery, Grayson, and Carroll Counties.

The ETSZ stretches from northern Alabama and Georgia north through eastern Tennessee and includes a small portion of far southwestern Virginia in Lee County.

Although these three seismic zones delineate the greatest concentration of earthquake events that have occurred in Virginia, all parts of the Commonwealth should be considered susceptible to earthquake shaking, as the entire state has experienced seismic activity in the past.