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Residential property damage in the epicentral area of the Mineral, Virginia, earthquake of 23 August 2011

By
Matthew J. Heller
Matthew J. Heller
Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, 900 Natural Resources Drive, Suite 500, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903, USA
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Aina M. Carter
Aina M. Carter
3391 West Old Mountain Road, Louisa, Virginia 23093, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2015

The Mineral, Virginia (USA), earthquake of 23 August 2011 was an unusually strong seismic event in the eastern United States. It caused widespread structural damage to residential property near the epicenter. An analysis of residential property damage reports, in conjunction with visits to some damaged residences, reveals a 40 km2 area of concentrated damage centered 11 km south of the town of Louisa. This area is west of the earthquake’s epicenter and may be in the immediate hanging wall of a northeast-striking, moderately southeast dipping causative fault suggested by seismic data. The degree of damage in this area is consistent with a maximum Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) of VIII. A surrounding area of ~550 km2 reported damage that is consistent with an MMI intensity of VII. A statistical analysis of dwelling characteristics confirms that home age and condition were factors that influenced the frequency and severity of reported property damage. The median damage to homes constructed between 1900 and 1973, relative to assessed value, was approximately twice that of homes constructed after 1973 in Louisa County, and three times greater within areas of MMI intensity VI, VII, and VIII.

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GSA Special Papers

The 2011 Mineral, Virginia, Earthquake, and Its Significance for Seismic Hazards in Eastern North America

Geological Society of America
ISBN print:
9780813725093
Publication date:
January 01, 2015

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