Another Aftershock: Louisa Residents Adjusting to New Normal

By: Carter Johnson Email
By: Carter Johnson Email

March 26, 2012

A confirmed 3.1 aftershock hit central Virginia at 11:21 p.m. Sunday. The United States Geological Survey reports the quake struck about eight miles SSW of Mineral.

From the initial 5.8-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 23, 2011 to Sunday's aftershock, Louisa County residents are still adjusting to a new normal.

"It does make you nervous," said Jennifer Johnson. "When I set stuff now I think about, Oh if we have an earthquake, it will fall. I have to move it. It's become part of our everyday life, which is very strange to think that that ever would be part of our lives."

This is still considered an aftershock of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Mineral last August. Dr. Grant Goodell, a research professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, estimates there have been 50 aftershocks with a magnitude greater than 2.0, and countless others that were too weak to feel.

For Johnson, the latest aftershock is just another reminder that the effects of August's earthquake are still being felt. "It might not ever go away. I've lived here my entire life and never dealt with anything like this," she said.

Dr. Goodell says it's impossible to know how long the aftershocks will continue, but one as strong as Sunday's is rare. The 3.1 is considered a big aftershock, he says, particularly in comparison to the original quake.

The UVa geoscientist says all earthquakes in the area of Mineral will be considered aftershocks unless a larger earthquake strikes months or years in the future. In that case, the earthquake on Aug. 23, 2011 would be considered a "foreshock" to the larger quake.

To view a map of of the seismic activity in central Virginia over the past six months, click here. No damage has been reported, according to the Associated Press.

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