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A rare 5.9-magnitude earthquake has struck the east coast of United States, shaking some of the country's largest cities.

The US geological survey said the quake occurred in central Virginia, about 165km south of the capital, Washington DC, and was the most severe quake in the area in more than a century.

In Washington DC, the White House, the Pentagon and the US Capitol were all evacuated.

The tremor has affected flights, trains and phone services across the US, while a nuclear reactor was shut down.

Officials are now assessing the damage to property.

Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan reports.

Source: Al Jazeera