Geologists Find That East Coast Quakes Travel Farther

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    Kelly Salisbury
    Outside an office building in Tyson's Corner after August 2011's earthquake.

    The U.S. Geological Survey says the 2011 Virginia-centered earthquake shows that East Coast tremors can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought.

    The agency estimates that about one-third of the U.S. population could have felt the magnitude 5.8 quake. That's more than any earthquake in U.S. history.

    The earthquake -- centered about 50 miles northwest of Richmond -- caused more than $200 million in damage.

    Scientists found the quake triggered landslides at distances four times farther and over an area 20 times larger than previous research quakes has shown.

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    The findings are being presented Tuesday at the Geological Society of America conference in Charlotte, N.C. Officials say the information will be used for risk assessments and emergency preparedness.