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Warning call of the wild: US zoo animals sensed quake
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 25, 2011

Many animals at the National Zoo in Washington sensed the rare 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the US east coast before it struck and began to behave strangely, zoo officials said.

The epicenter of the surprise quake was located in a small Virginia town 134 kilometers (84 miles) southwest of the US capital.

Despite the distance, the zoo's red-ruffed lemurs "sounded an alarm call about 15 minutes before the quake and then again just after it occurred," the zoo said in a statement Wednesday.

The zoo's flock of 64 flamingos rushed about and grouped themselves together just before the quake, then remained huddled as the earth shook.

About five to ten seconds before the quake, many of the zoo's apes, including an orangutan and a gorilla, "abandoned their food and climbed to the top of the tree-like structure in the exhibit."

Three seconds before the quake a female gorilla shrieked, collected her baby and also climbed the structure, while another orangutan "began 'belch vocalizing' -- an unhappy/upset noise normally reserved for extreme irritation -- before the quake and continued this vocalization following the quake."

The howler monkeys also "sounded an alarm call just after the earthquake."

When the quake struck, the zoo's snakes -- including copperheads, cotton mouth, and false water cobra -- began writhing. The zoos Komodo dragon hid inside its shelter.

"All of these behaviors were atypical for that time of the day," Don Moore, the zoo's director of animal care, told CNN.

Of all the zoo animals, the giant pandas remained apparently oblivious.

"According to keepers, the giant pandas did not appear to respond to the earthquake," the zoo said.

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Quake aftershock jolts US east coast
Washington (AFP) Aug 25, 2011 - A 4.5 magnitude aftershock jolted Virginia and the region around the US capital early Thursday, rattling residents recovering from a rare east coast earthquake two days earlier.

The epicenter of the tremor which struck at 1:07 am (0507 GMT) was just eight kilometers (five miles) south of Mineral, Virginia, the epicenter of Tuesday's 5.8 magnitude quake, the National Earthquake Information Center reported.

The location is 133 kilometers (82 miles) south-west of Washington, the earthquake monitors said.

There were no immediate reports of damage, but local news media reported that residents of northern Virginia, Washington and Maryland felt the tremor. Tuesday's earthquake had been felt as far away as Alabama and Boston.

US east coast structures are not built to withstand earthquakes, so an aftershock coming after a strong earthquake could easily topple already weakened structures, especially brick walls and chimneys.

In Washington, Tuesday's quake opened a small crack near the top of the iconic Washington Monument, prompting officials to indefinitely close the structure, while the National Cathedral lost part of its towering neo-Gothic spires and suffered cracks in its flying buttresses.

Many schools and older buildings across the region suffered minor damage.

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Powerful quake rattles remote area of Peru
Lima (AFP) Aug 24, 2011
A powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake shook eastern Peru on Wednesday and was felt more than 300 miles (480 kilometers) away in the capital Lima as well as in neighboring Ecuador and Brazil. Seismologists from the US Geological Survey said the epicenter of the quake, which occurred at 1746 GMT, was 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Pucallpa, a city isolated by the Andes and the Amazon rainfore ... read more

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