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Is it just us, or is the end of the world coming a year early? In the span of less than a week, the East Coast will have dealt with two rare natural disasters.

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck Virginia on Tuesday, and shaking could be felt all the way up here in Cambridge. Students reported feeling the Student Center rocking, and small crowds gathered outside the main group buildings as MIT personnel sought ground level. The earthquake did not cause serious damage, but the National Park Service has found cracks in the Washington Monument, not far from the epicenter.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Irene attained Category 3 status last night, with wind speeds up to 120 mph. Irene is expected to make landfall in North Carolina on Saturday, prompting the evacuation of an estimated 200,000 people from that state’s barrier islands, according to local news reports. The massive storm, which will barrel its way up the eastern seaboard, is the strongest the East Coast coast has seen in years. For more information and safety tips, check the front page.