Boston earthquake: Shaken and stirred by rare quake

Buildings throughout Boston were evacuated during the earthquake. A building at 
111 Devonshire St. was inspected after reports it was damaged during the quake.

Office buildings in downtown Boston were evacuated and emergency response teams raced to answer a high volume of 911 calls as a result of tremors felt locally from a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in Virginia.

“It felt like I was on a boat,” said Kristin, 26, who was in the Boston Harbor Hotel during the earthquake. “I’m from California, so I recognized the feeling right away.”

But she said people in her office didn’t know what was going on.

Andy Brunner, 27, who is completing his residency at Mass General Hospital, was on the train from Providence when it happened.

“It’s not a good city to have a big earthquake in, but I think we can handle the little ripples,” he said.
Although no structural damage was discovered, gawkers flooded Devonshire Street after reports  that a building had shifted.

But the Moors and Cabot building, rumored to have been damaged, has always been very close to its neighboring Brown Brothers Harriman building, according to city and fire officials.

“Nothing actually happened,” said 111 Devonshire building manager Garry Morris. “People thought the buildings were touching because of the quake, and that they shifted.”

He said the 11-story building built in 1911 and its neighbor have always had a mere three-eighths of an inch gap between them.

Biggest quake in 100 years

The shaking felt across the East Coast
yesterday was from one of the most significant earthquakes of the last
century, seismologists said.

“It’s one of the most significant one’s
we’ve had on the East Coast for probably the last 100 years,” said Dr.
Michael Hagerty, a manger at the Boston College’s Weston Observatory.

Boston
and other areas far from the epicenter were able to feel the quake
because seismic waves travel efficiently on the East Coast because the
Earth’s crust is cooler and older, Hagerty said.

Hagerty said that
depending on how deep the quake occurs, the damage can vary. However, he
added that the coast “dodged a bullet” with no significant damage
reports.

The last earthquake in southern New England was a 1.7 magnitude that hit in June, five miles east of Hartford.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.

In quake, beware old buildings

While building codes require buildings of a certain size to be constructed to withstand seismic activity, Boston’s historic brownstones could crumble.

“Beacon Hill, the Back Bay or the South End; if the intensity of what happened in Virginia were to occur here, I would expect significant damage in those buildings,” said Kenneth Kruger, a structural engineer and owner of the Cambridge firm Kruger Kruger Albenberg.

He said the concern with earthquake damage is primarily with masonry buildings due to the materials with which they are built. While wood-frame buildings may significantly sway, Kruger said they have more give. 

What to do if you’re in a high-rise

What to do if you’re in a high-rise and an earthquake hits?

“I would get under a desk so things don’t fall on you,” said Larry Brown, a Cornell University seismology professor. “Book cases, falling lamps, get away from those things.”

As far as fleeing the building itself, in a serious quake you likely won’t have time to get outside, said Brown, especially if you’re high up.

“You obviously don’t want to get in the elevator but it may not be a bad idea to go down the stairwell because stairwells are reinforced,” he said. “In an urban environment, you are actually safer inside than out because of falling glass.” 

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Hillary Clinton headed to Boston for women's leadership…

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to visit Massachusetts Wednesday amid continuing speculation about making another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Local

The Boston Marathon: Step by step, the race…

For over a century, the Boston Marathon has been an event centered around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there’s no denying the face of the renowned race has been changed…

Local

Boston Marathon: Marathoners ready to run, honor victims

Scores of runners will cross the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton Monday and embark on a 26.2-mile journey to Boston in honor of the victims.

Local

MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings…

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings in Game 2

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.