Earthquake Shows We Learned From Experience
A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Central Virginia last Tuesday, August 23, sending tremors along the East Coast, and prompting office buildings from Washington D.C. to New York to be evacuated. The quake was felt as far west as Chicago and as far north as some cities in the eastern provinces of Canada.
Buildings in Mineral, Virginia, the site of the quake’s epicenter, sustained the most damage, but none were beyond repair. Some tall structures in cities swayed, but none were damaged, except the 555 foot, 5 1/8 inch tall Washington Monument and the National Cathedral, both in Washington, D.C. The Monument sustained three or four cracks considered “significant” and the National Cathedral, on which construction began in 1907 and was completed in 1990, suffered damage to its spires estimated in the neighborhood of $1 million. As far as we know, this was the most serious impact of the quake.
For the most part, we weathered the most significant earthquake to strike the Eastern Seaboard in many years without serious damage to property or threat to life and limb. We learned from previous such experiences, some natural in origin and some man-made, and we applied what we learned. No buildings collapsed and no rescue or recovery operations were needed to extricate survivors or bodies from under mountains of rubble and debris. We did more than dodge a bullet. We used our knowledge to build structures that can take a serious hit from Mother Nature and remain upright and intact. Experience is a wise teacher, and we, her students, learned foresight and prudence. We came out ahead on this one.