Probably no one in the seismological community, or any of the tens of millions of people who would subsequently be affected, was contemplating in detail the possibility of the strong mid-Atlantic region earthquake on the morning of 23 August 2011, during which strong ground motion was experienced by more people than in any other single event in U.S. history. It (inadvisably) emptied buildings in Manhattan and even (briefly) roused the U.S. government from its usual business of partisan siege warfare. Just a few hours before the Virginia earthquake, Colorado experienced one of the largest earthquakes in its history. As I...

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