Mainers as far north as Augusta felt the ground shake Tuesday as a seismic shock rippled outward from Virginia’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake.

No damage was reported in Maine, and many people who felt the movement were unsure that it was an earthquake.

Justine Glynn was in her office at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute on Commercial Street in Portland when she felt the floor “kind of rolling.”

“I put my hands on my desk and still felt the rolling feeling, then looked over to another desk and saw a water bottle rocking back and forth,” Glynn said. “It stopped after 20 to 30 seconds and I wasn’t really sure that it had in fact been an earthquake, but I checked my Twitter account right away and found posts from people all up and down the coast, including Saco, who had felt it.”

Others said it felt like a truck rolling past, or a train.

There was no question on the top floor of the Intermed building at 84 Marginal Way.

Scores of people were evacuated after workers on the ninth floor felt the building swaying. The building had been engineered to move when an earthquake hits; an engineer under contract with the owner inspected the building afterward and determined it was safe, said Deputy Fire Chief David Jackson.

In Westbrook, about 300 workers at Idexx Laboratories were evacuated from the Thomas Drive call center.

“They felt some rumbling and shaking of the building,” said Dick Daigle, director of facilities for Idexx. “For the safety of our employees, we chose to evacuate the building and wait for the Fire Department to do an assessment and make sure everything was all set.”

Westbrook Public Safety Chief Mike Pardue said firefighters made sure there were no gas leaks or other problems, and after about 20 minutes they declared the building safe.

Mike Foley, senior geologist with the Maine Geological Survey, said the agency fielded many calls from people who reported feeling the quake, which struck at 1:51 p.m. Calls came from as far north as Augusta.

“Most people reported shaking and feeling a rocking motion, venetian blinds kind of shaking,” Foley said.

He said the tremor appeared to be a 3 on the Mercalli intensity scale, which rates on a scale of 1 to 12 how an earthquake feels to observers. A rating of 3 is described as: “Felt quite noticeably by people indoors, especially on the upper floors of buildings. Many do not recognize it as an earthquake. Standing motor cars may rock slightly. Vibration similar to the passing of a truck.”

Bruce Fitzgerald, deputy director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency, said reports of people feeling the quake were received by officials in York, Cumberland and Androscoggin counties.

Kimberly White-Kaiser, director of the York County Emergency Management Agency, said one of the first reports she received of the earthquake being felt in Maine was from firefighters.

“We got reports a little bit after 2 p.m., people feeling the wave,” she said. Moments later, firefighters working on a second-floor porch in Waterboro called.

“They could see the actual porch itself move,” White-Kaiser said. “One of them said it was probably the weirdest thing he’d been through.”

 

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]