The Aug. 23 earthquake that rocked the East Coast also led to a significant spike in wireless call volume, according to carrier spokespeople.
“We are currently experiencing an intermittent mass calling event as is expected following an incident of this nature,” Scott Sloat, a spokesperson for Sprint, told eWEEK at 4 p.m. EDT, roughly two hours after the earthquake came and went. “There [is] no reported impact to our network, and we encourage customers to be patient, and send a text message rather than call at this time.”
An AT&T spokesperson offered a similar take: “We have no reports of network damage but are seeing heavy call volumes.”
Verizon Wireless likewise reported no network damage. “There was some network congestion for some but certainly not all customers as a result of spikes in calling in parts of the East for a short time after the tremors,” Tom Pica, a spokesperson for the carrier, wrote in an email. “Everything has been returning to normal quickly now that the tremors have ended. We’ll continue to monitor the network.”
Tremors were reportedly felt from New England to North Carolina, with officials placing the epicenter in Mineral, Va. In New York City and Washington, D.C., office workers flooded into the streets. However, despite an explosion of tweets, phone calls and worry, damage from the earthquake was apparently minimal. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg tweeted: “As ever, we urge New Yorkers to call 911 only in cases of actual emergency.”
Nonetheless, aftershocks continued to ripple through the East Coast’s infrastructure for hours after the shaking died down. Amtrak trains and Washington’s Metro system were experiencing slowdowns, with airports reporting plane delays.
And then, of course, came the jokes. “‘I felt that earthquake last week’-Brooklyn hipster,” read one representative tweet. A photo titled “DC Earthquake Devastation,” making the rounds online, featured a plastic lawn chair toppled over on the grass.
Possible aftershocks aside, it could have been worse.