A 5.9 magnitude earthquake that originated northwest of Richmond, Va., rattled much of the east coast shortly before 2 p.m.
In New Jersey, the quake lasted just a few seconds, but caused evacuations of buildings in Jersey City and elsewhere.
Phone lines throughout the state were jammed and police reported being inundated with calls about the tremor.
According to reports, both the Pentagon and the Capitol Building also were evacuated.
MSNBC is reporting ground stops at all local airports including Newark, JFK and Philadelphia.