Manassas finds itself on terra not-so-firma
Tuesday, September 30, 1997; 10:23 AM
A lot of people in Manassas yesterday thought a truck had rammed into their building. Or that the roof had caved in. Or that a sonic boom had rolled by.
Turns out it was just an earthquake.
At precisely 1:45 p.m., a quake registering 2.5 on the Richter scale jostled the City of Manassas, according to officials with the U.S. Geological Survey. Residents were stirred but not quite shaken: No injuries, collapsed buildings or broken dishes were reported.
In short, it was the day the earth almost stood still.
"It's what we would call a very minor seismic event," said John Minsch, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo. "If this happened in California, no one would probably even notice."
But in Northern Virginia, the term "earthshaking" is not generally meant literally. So when the ground shuddered yesterday in Manassas, befuddled residents wandered outside their dwellings and workplaces and flooded emergency dispatchers with telephone calls asking what had happened. Fire and rescue officials rushed around in a vain attempt to find an explosion to explain the event, checking with everyone issued blasting permits in Prince William County.