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At least 5 aftershocks rattle DC area

/ Source: msnbc.com news services

A 4.5-magnitude earthquake that rattled the Washington, D.C.-area early Thursday was at least the fifth aftershock in the wake of the strongest temblor to strike the East Coast since World War II.

Tuesday's 5.8-magnitude earthquake, with an epicenter in central Virginia, shook people from Georgia to Canada.

The U.S. Geological Survey said that Thursday morning's aftershock struck about 3 miles deep in central Virginia at 1:07 a.m. ET. The other aftershocks have been of lesser magnitude, with the lowest registering at 2.2.

Amy Vaughan, a geophysicist with the agency's National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado, said the number of aftershocks so far has been remarkably low.

Vaughan said the agency isn't sure what to expect, but it's likely there will be some more for days, if not weeks. Typically, the larger the quake, the longer and the greater extent of aftershocks.

"For days or weeks, we could expect aftershocks like this," .

Vaughn told the Post that the USGS had received 6,800 reports from people who felt Thursday's aftershock.

that dozens of local schools remained closed Thursday as a result of Tuesday's quake.

Structural engineering teams examined local buildings and monuments throughout Wednesday for potentially dangerous damage from the earthquake,