‘Dancing’ Ice Cubes the First Clue to East Coast Earthquake

FIRST PERSON | MADISON HEIGHTS, Va. — Ice cubes started doing a little dance in the glass. The table began to vibrate and soon there was a definitely an unusual tingling beneath my feet. Not exactly the way I like to start a lunch appointment, but that’s exactly precisely what happened today when the 5.9 level earthquake shook Lynchburg, Va.

The tremor was centered in Louisa County, approximately 150 miles from where I live, and was felt as far north as Toronto. My niece and nephew in South Carolina also reported feeling the slight rumble.

Initially, I thought a large truck had hit a bump outside the restaurant, but the prolonged shimmer proved that not to be the case. I reached out to grab the glass and that’s when it was apparent that it was more than a passing vehicle.

The detectable part of the quake was only noticeable to me for about 45 seconds — but it seemed to go on much longer. Some customers stood up in preparation head outside, but ultimately no one did.

This wasn’t my first earthquake. I used to live in southern Illinois, which is part of the New Madrid Fault. As a teenager, I remember swimming with my cousin in our outdoor pool when a quake hit. That was fascinating to watch the water ripple across the surface of the pool on its own initiative. The second quake I felt was during a visit to Southern California. Both are the most eerie feeling that can be imagined. It is extremely unsettling to feel the earth moving under your feet and even more so when items start walking across a table.

The later didn’t happen to me today — thank God — and fortunately there was no damage in our area. It didn’t stop the cell phone calls from family and friends all over the country who were worried about our safety. The local radio station reported that several cell phone companies were reporting network gridlock due to the high call volume. I had no interruption of cell communications, so it might have been a localized phenomena.

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