The earthquake that rattled the East Coast Tuesday afternoon, from its Virginia epicenter to Washington and the islands off Massachusetts, was, indeed, rare, geologists say.

But only because of its size; at a magnitude of 5.8, it was the largest temblor to hit Virginia since 1897, when the largest quake on record, a 5.9 quake, struck.

"Earthquakes in central Virginia are not very unusual," says David Spears, Virginia's state geologist. "We have them every few years, but they're usually in the two-to-four magnitude range."

After an earthquake shook the East Coast on Tuesday, many people reached for their cellphones and tried to call loved ones. And many couldn't get through — but it wasn't the earthquake's fault.

No damaged cell towers or wires were reported by the major mobile carriers following the quake, which struck just before 2 p.m. EST and registered a magnitude of 5.8 at its epicenter in Virginia.

So what caused the problems?

When Sudan allowed South Sudan to become an independent nation last month, it hoped this would put an end to years of friction with the United States.

More specifically, Sudan desperately wanted to be removed from Washington's list of state sponsors of terrorism and get out from under the many sanctions that come along with that designation.

But now the U.S. and the United Nations are raising concerns about fighting, and possible atrocities, near the border between Sudan and South Sudan.

If you've got high cholesterol, you know the diet advice: Go easy on foods high in saturated fat like red meat and cheese, and eat lots of fiber and whole grains.

The message still holds up, but researchers say it's time to tweak the message.

Alabama's new immigration law gets its first test in federal court Wednesday.

The Justice Department and civil rights groups are suing to stop what's considered to be the toughest illegal immigration crackdown coming out of the states.

But the law is also being challenged from a Bible Belt institution.

'It Goes Against Tenets Of Our Christian Faith'

At First United Methodist Church in downtown Birmingham, clergy from around the city take turns leading a prayer service called in response to the new immigration law.

The United States wants to give Libya its money back.

The U.S. froze some $30 billion worth of the country's assets after leader Moammar Gadhafi launched a harsh crackdown on his opponents earlier this year. With Gadhafi's rule now near or at its end, U.S. officials and their European counterparts are prepared to quickly unfreeze those funds for a new Libyan leadership.

The first thing East Coasters did when the ground began to shake this afternoon wasn't duck under their desks, but to turn to their smartphones.

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake that was felt from Durham, N.C., to Toronto was documented instantly through social media like Facebook and Twitter.

VIDEO: White House, Capitol As Earthquake Hits

Aug 23, 2011

The AP has just provided this video of the White House and the Capitol as the 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the East Coast. Make sure you watch the roof closely as the security detail reacts to the rumbling:

Update at 4:17 p.m. ET. Earthquake Interrupts DSK Press Conference:

Here's another video of the earthquake interrupting a press conference with Dominique Strauss-Kahn's lawyer:

5.9 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles East Coast

Aug 23, 2011

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake rattled the east coast of the United States, today. The tremor was felt at least as far north as New York and at least as far south as Virginia.

The United States Geological Survey says the earthquake happened at 1:51 p.m. ET with an epicenter nine miles south of Mineral, Virginia and had a depth of 1 km.

Patients Getting Faster Treatment For Heart Attacks

Aug 23, 2011

When it comes to treating heart attacks, doing the right thing doesn't count for much if doctors dawdle.

For a heart attack caused by a sudden blockage of an artery that feeds the pumping muscle, cardiologists agree that busting it up with an inflatable catheter should be done as soon as possible. The goal: treatment within 90 minutes of the patient arriving at the hospital.

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Arts & Culture

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What's New: Avner Dorman

A native of Israel, Avner Dorman has collected a number of international awards throughout his distinguished career. He is a respected educator, conductor and composer. Over the last several years, Dorman’s compositions have been performed by the New York, Los Angeles, and Munich Philharmonics. We’ll hear music and new releases from composer Avner Dorman on today’s What’s New.

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Ask The Mayor: Crawfordsville's Todd Barton On Seeing Video Of A Movie Shooting

There aren’t that many movies staged and shot in Crawfordsville. And probably only a small subset of those involve replica firearms. So when a Crawfordsville police officer encountered what looked like a robbery earlier this week and fired a bullet at an actor carrying an air gun, people began to formulate questions.

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Opioids are on the White House agenda Thursday — President Trump plans to talk with members of his administration about the crisis. Meanwhile, all around the United States, state legislators, treatment providers, families and many others will be listening.

When the new president of Sinn Fein took the podium at a recent political rally, she acknowledged she'll never fully replace her predecessor and mentor.

"The truth is, my friends, I won't fill Gerry's shoes," Mary Lou McDonald told a crowd in Belfast last month. "But the news is that I brought my own."

Last year was yet another good one for the U.S. auto industry. Overall, 17.2 million vehicles were sold in 2017 — one of its five all-time best years — and profits were high.

Automakers aren't rejoicing — sales declined about 2 percent after reaching a record in 2016. And, despite a good economy, analysts predict another drop this year.

"I can tell you (we're) coming off a plateau in the last couple of years for sure," says Mark Scarpelli, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Story In 'The Onion' Is Kind Of True

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Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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