The ceiling of Jones Lighting Specialists showroom on Dulaney Valley Road is crammed with chandeliers, and Angela Oriente was one of only two salespeople on the floor when the chandeliers started swaying, she said. Really swaying.

"We looked at each other and I said, 'It feels like an earthquake,' and the receptionist had turned on the radio and said, 'It is an earthquake,' and we decided to go outside," she said.

"But nothing fell. I never dreamed we would have an earthquake on the East Coast."


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At the Towson Library, some of the employees were enjoying an ice cream party in the staff room when the shaking started, according to branch manager Jen Haire.

"The joke was, 'Save the ice cream,'" she said.

The building has been known to vibrate when a big truck passes by on York Road, or during a construction blast, so a little shaking was easy to dismiss," she said, especially since she was in the children's area at the time, which is cantilevered and not as affected.

"Frankly, I feel safe in this building," she said. "It looks like a bunker."

But the library did sustain a crack, which is being investigated, she said.

The library already has evacuation procedures for tornadoes, Haire said. "Now we'll have to work out one for earthquakes."


One Timonium family will remember much more about their days than the fact that there was an earthquake.

Alex Young lives in Towson, but works as a solar physicist at the NASA Goddard in Greenbelt. He and his fiancé, Linda Schenk, operate a website, The Sun Today, and Young was invited to a meeting with NASA's social media team.

"I was sitting next to a really big glass window," Young said. "We all thought something had exploded or hit the building. I could see the glass undulating, like a wave on a pond."

The order came for everyone to leave the base, but Young stopped at his office before evacuating.

"I went to my desk, and I have a couple of awards on a shelf," Young said. "One is a big, Lucite block the size of a textbook, and it had fallen exactly where I lean over when I work at my computer.

"If I hadn't gone to the meeting, this thing would have fallen on me," he said. "It would have hurt."

Both Young and Schenk have spent time in more earthquake-prone areas — Schenk in San Francisco, and Young in Japan — but Tuesday's tremors were the most intense they'd ever experienced.

"We never really had this much excitement," Schenk said.