Earthquake Made for a Shaky Start to School Year

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Julie Ensor – Terrier Times Staff – VINTON, Va.

It seems that William Byrd High School has been on shaky ground for the past two years. Rumbling construction equipment shook classrooms as they moved the earth and pounded on building materials during recent renovations.

 But there was a different kind of rumble on the second day of school that left students and teachers asking questions.

 ”Who’s shaking the table?”

 ”Why is the ActivBoard shaking?”

 ”Was that a bulldozer?”

Those were common reactions on Tuesday August 23 during 6th block as teachers and students reacted to the earth literally moving.

 ”I thought I was shaking my desk and thought, ‘am I writing that hard?’” said junior Elise Wright.

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered 155 miles away in Mineral, Va, according to the U.S. Geological survey. Vinton along with the majority of the East Coast from Canada to Georgia felt it. The 5.8 earthquake was so strong that it almost beat Virginia’s 5.9 magnitude record. USGS claims that large earthquake happened on May 31, 1897 in Giles County.

“I wondered what it was and I kept hearing it was an earthquake, but it was hard to believe because we don’t have those often,” said guidance secretary, Vickie Carroll.

Some students reacted with excitement because earthquakes are so rare. Others were scared because they did not know how long it would last or if it would get worse. Others at WBHS did not even feel the quake at all.

“I first thought was that it could be some kind of construction. My sister called and said that the earthquake was all over the news. It was exciting, being the first earthquake I had felt,” said secretary Vicki Carr. “My husband was driving his truck and didn’t even get to feel it.”

The crazy fact of it all is that while it may have seemed major to a lot of the students and faculty, this area, according to USGS, has earthquakes all of the time. The National Earthquake Information Center is said to track 12,000 to 14,000 a year. In other words, there’s about 50/day.

However, this earthquake experience that WBHS felt livened up the first week back in 2011 and gave everyone something to remember.

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