Now that we've all got a soothing cup of coffee in hand, let's take a closer look at the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the East Coast yesterday. Beginning at 1:51 p.m., the quake lasted between 20 and 30 seconds. The USGS reported two aftershocks of magnitude 2.8 and 2.2 within 90 minutes of the initial quake. People felt the quake from Ontario all the way down to Alabama, because "it was a shallow earthquake, and geological conditions in the eastern U.S." make for a widely shared experience. Why? "Western rock is relatively young" ("impudent," lets say?) and absorbs the violent shaking near the epicenter, while eastern rock is "far older, and so earthquakes can have a much larger and more widespread impact."

As the Times reports, "This quake was notable for its incongruity: it was one of the most powerful to hit the East Coast in decades, and yet it caused little damage." That damage was largely confined to the town near its epicenter, Mineral, Virginia. "I was mopping the floor and the next thing you know, everything is falling in on me. I thought the world was coming to an end," said the co-owner of Main Street Plumbing and Electrical in Mineral. A FEMA administrator said the damage was not widespread or particularly serious: "What we are getting is case by case—a building here, a building there. Most of the major things like roads and brigs seem to be intact and O.K."

Except at the National Cathedral in D.C., where one of the spires fell down during the quake. We can attest that one of the perks of living in Washington is that everything closes down when someone sneezes funny, and so it is today: a handful of federal buildings and the Washington Monument remain closed, and traffic snarled the Capitol yesterday as everyone was sent home from work early.

In New York, Steve and Amy Mutton were trying to get married at City Hall, when "All of a sudden, they started evacuating the building," Mr. Mutton tells the Daily News. The couple says they got hitched shortly after the magnitude 2.0 shaking stopped rocking Manhattan. "It's not something we could have planned on. So you've got to go with it and get on with it, don't you?" Mrs. Mutton said.

Aside from Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr.'s interrupted press conference (he's probably not too upset that his announcements were upstaged) and some miserable cell phone service (which isn't all that new), New Yorkers took it in stride. Now: Shut up, California!