Kaikis said the restaurant was about half full with some 45 customers when the shaking started.

"They took it in stride," said Kaikis. "Nobody evacuated."

He said it seemed most of the patrons "were excited" but not frightened.

"It was an experience, no question. Before you knew it, it was over."

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When the ground shook, library director Gail Ross and most of the rest of the crew at the Arbutus Branch Library thought one of the construction vehicles outside had bumped into the building.

But staff member Tina Pickens, who once lived in California, knew immediately what was happening and urged people to seek shelter in a doorway.

The library had no damage and only about a half dozen books to pick up, Ross said.

To be safe, Ross said the library evacuated everyone from the building at 855 Sulphur Spring Road until the maintenance supervisor gave the all clear about two hours later.

"It was smooth here," Ross said about the earthquake proceedings. "We walked around and saw cracks, but they're probably just settlement cracks that were there before."

Phone lines in the area became jammed shortly after the trembles occurred, as residents tried to reach loved ones and find more information – one of the main causes of concern for people, Mohler said.

The county is also working with BGE to identify any gas leaks in the county, Mohler said.

Charles Herndon, spokesman for Baltimore County Public Schools, said the system is "still a go" with regular operations, and had no evacuations during the earthquake.

"There were some people who voluntarily left the buildings and went out when it happened, but I think that's a normal human reaction," Herndon said.

Herndon said school officials have also found cracks in the gymnasium of Kenwood High School inEssex and along the back wall of Pikesville High School that are thought to have been caused by the earthquake.

"We're still looking into it," Herndon said. "I don't think they were large cracks or gaping holes or anything along those lines."

School officials throughout the system are "going through the buildings this afternoon, looking for evidence of damage or anything along those lines," he said.

Schools officials were also being encouraged to review the system's protocols for seismic events, which call for those inside school buildings to remain inside, and for those outside to move away from school buildings, Herndon said.

Immediately after the earthquake, Herndon said calls began pouring into the central office from schools, including from the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson, where administrators thought the trembles were from construction on the campus.

"It was definitely an unnerving thing for a few moments," Herndon said. "I think it takes a few moments to process what it is. Is this a big truck rolling by? Is it the boiler a floor below me? A military jet overhead?"

"But we very quickly realized," he said.