Virginia earthquake rattles residents, buildings

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred just northwest of Richmond, Virginia late last summer is still affecting local homeowners, many of whom needed to conduct a home inspection in the immediate aftermath of the incident to ensure their properties were still completely intact.

Just this week, a 2.5-magnitude aftershock, the 82nd to follow last August's tremors, shook the central Virginia region. This aftershock follows two smaller earthquakes also this week that were so minor that few people felt them.

These aftershocks pale in comparison to last August's earthquake, which radiated tremors as far north as New York, Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts. Following that event, many homeowners in the Virginia area were left to clean up the earthquake's effects.

"Things started falling off the shelves," Mineral, Virginia resident Anthony Vining told local television station WTOP at the time. "Shelves were breaking. I was running out the back door, I watched the chimney fall. All the wood I have piled up against the house came down, animals running through the yard."

Homeowners should have their homes inspected after earthquakes, as they can damage the structural integrity of building. While some damage, such as cracks in a foundation, walls or roofs can be obvious even to homeowners with less discerning eyes, an experienced Washington, D.C. home inspector can find these problems during a thorough investigation of a property.

Homeowners can check doors to ensure they are closing correctly – if they don't close, the home could be damaged. Other damage, like broken pipes and loose wiring, can be spotted by an inspector. The cost of a home inspection will be significantly less than having to address damage that could worsen with time.