Mainers know what to do in a blizzard. We have a lot of experience with ice storms, flooding and cold snaps.

But aside from a little beach erosion, we don’t have much experience dealing with the earth when it moves. That was until Tuesday.

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake was registered in Virginia, shaking buildings and rattling windows as far away as Canada.

That meant it was noticed by some — but by no means all — here in Maine, leading to the evacuation of at least one tall building in Portland, and giving people something other than the Red Sox to talk about at the office water coolers. It even knocked the revolution in Libya off the cable news networks, no easy feat during the late summer domestic news doldrums.

Californians can scoff at a 5.8 earthquake as a cause of commotion. They will tell you that unless freeway bridges are collapsing, a little tremor would not stop them from going about their business.

Fine. We will reserve comment on them until the next time a freak dusting of snow turns one of their roads into a triple-digit car pileup. We experience these events in context, so what you are used to matters.

The people who felt the ground shaking for the first time in their lives and didn’t know when or if it would stop can be excused from feeling a little flustered.

It might not have been a natural disaster up here — there was some serious property damage closer to the epicenter — but it does qualify as an event for the people who experienced it and one that they won’t likely forget.

Our real troubles are, we hope, a few months away. Everyone should let us savor the momentary excitement of an earthquake that shook up a lazy summer afternoon.