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Small earthquake brings 'slight shake and rumble' to Northern Virginia

WASHINGTON - A small earthquake occurred late Thursday, August 16, with an epicenter about 35 miles northwest from here in suburban Loudoun County, Virginia, officials said.

A U.S. Geological Survey report on the 1.7-magnitude temblor originated about 2.5 miles northeast of Belmont, at a depth of about three miles. The epicenter was at the Golf Club at Lansdowne near the Potomac River, according to a USGS map. It occurred at 11:23 p.m.

At 12:50 a.m., the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office tweeted that "some residents felt a slight shake and rumble." Sheriff spokesman Kraig Troxell said the county's emergency communications center received multiple calls from residents.

Such small quakes often aren't felt. Seismic activity under magnitude 3.0 is "not felt except by a very few under especially favorable conditions," according to the USGS website.

Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains are relatively rare, but are felt over an area 10 times larger than that of their western counterparts, the website said.

This article was written by Justin Wm. Moyer, a reporter for The Washington Post.