The Great East Coast Earthquake

Five years ago today, this region experienced a historic event: The Great East Coast Earthquake.


With a magnitude of 5.8 and an epicenter in Mineral, Va. (less than 100 miles from VMI), the quake was felt across 12 states (and into Canada). See below for a few interesting facts and articles about the earthquake, as well as some books and e-books we have on earthquake-related topics:

  • More people felt this earthquake than any other in U.S. history (Horton 2012).
  • Researchers examining a random sample of Twitter feeds found that the first tweet about the earthquake occurred 54 seconds after it hit (Crooks et al. 2013).
  • Dolphins at the National Aquarium in Baltimore exhibited unusual behavior up to 60 seconds before the earthquake was felt by their trainers (Turner et al. 2014).

Horton, J.W. 2012. “The 2011 Virginia Earthquake: what are scientists learning (PDF).” EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union 93(33):317-324.
Crooks, A., A. Croitoru, A. Stefanidis, and J. Radzikowski. 2013. “#Earthquake: Twitter as a distributed sensor system (PDF).” Transactions in GIS 17(1):124-147.
Turner, M.R., C. Turner, S. Hunter, and M. Day. 2014. “Observed reactions of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at the National Aquarium during the 2011 Virginia earthquake.” Marine Mammal Science 31(2):726-733.



From the VMI Archives: Matriculation History

Since the the opening of VMI on November 11, 1839, new cadets have signed the matriculation book.  The VMI Archives houses all matriculation books except for the volume currently in use. The term “rat” as a reference to new cadets first appears in records around 1860.


The Perseids

Have you heard about the Perseid meteor shower? Maybe you saw this post at IFLscience.

2007 Perseid
Persied Meteor 2007. Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 8 Aug 2016.

Every year around this time, meteors are visible, originating from the comet Swift-Tuttle, and appearing to come from the constellation Perseus.

If you’re curious about the Perseids, or meteor showers in general, you can learn more with various library resources:

This book, Meteor Showers and their Parent comets.

Articles in online reference works like Credo Reference.

Articles in the ProQuest SciTech collection, like this one.

If you’d like to learn more about meteors, stop by the reference desk or contact the Library Help Desk.


ID Required for Late-Night Access


New for the fall semester: Beginning on August 30, 2016, a VMI ID card will be required to enter Preston Library after 10 p.m. Access will be available only to current VMI cadets, faculty, and staff from 10 p.m. until closing. Library hours are posted here.


Welcome, STP participants


Preston Library welcomes members of the next Rat class who are on Post for STP. All of you will be visiting the library for a tour and some may have a library workshop as well. You all have library accounts set up, so if you want to check out a book or DVD, we’re ready for you.

We encourage you to visit the library (and enjoy the AC!), look around for some good study areas, and let us know if you’ve got any questions.


Holiday hours

Preston Library will CLOSE at 1630 on Friday, July 1 for the Fourth of July weekend.  The library will remain closed all day on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, July 2-4.

We will reopen at 0800 on Tuesday, July 5.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Preston Library Recognizes 2016 First Classmen

Preston Library hosted a pizza luncheon on May 5, Reading Day, for its cadet assistants. Library staff recognized first classmen for their outstanding work and contributions to the library. Joining the celebration were Col. Susan Hastings, who retired in March, and Col. John Brodie, who brought a small brass ensemble to serenade Col. Hastings with Sweet Caroline.

Getting ready to dine

The serenade

Firsts with Col. Samdahl

A good time was had by all and good luck on exams!


Friends Recognize Cadet Ryan Poffenbarger for 2016 Camper Award

Col. Samdahl, Mr. Poffenbarger, Mr. Camper (l-r)

The Friends of Preston Library awarded Cadet Ryan Poffenbarger, ’16 with this year’s Camper Award on 5 May, Reading Day. Representatives of the Friends’ Board, Col. Don Samdahl, library staff, and Mrs. Camper’s son, Bob, recognized Mr. Poffenbarger for his leadership and service to Preston Library. Cadet Poffenbarger served this past year as Preston Library’s Head Library Cadet Assistant.

The award’s namesake, Mrs. Frances Camper, was a great teacher and role model for library cadet assistants. Cadet Poffenbarger received a letter of recognition, a certificate, and a cash award. Mr. Poffenbarger is an Applied Mathematics major who will commission in the United States Army Reserves as a Medical Service Corps officer in Ft. Meade. He will be working in air and missile defense at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. We wish all the best to this outstanding cadet.