Parts of the Pentagon, White House and U.S. Capitol Building were evacuated for a short period of time. Hundreds of people spilled into the street a block from the White House.
The epicenter of the quake, centered 9 miles from the town of Mineral, Virginia, was initially measured at 5.8 but was later upgraded.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was 3.7 miles deep, and it struck at 1:53 p.m. local time.
On Monday night, the largest natural earthquake in Colorado in more than a century struck the southeast corner of the state. There were no reports of damage or injuries in the quake, which was measured at a preliminary magnitude of 5.3.
Shock waves from the quake were felt at a baseball game in Cleveland between the Indians and Seattle Mariners, the Associated Press reports.
The press box swayed slightly and some fans exited the stadium because of the unusual movement. No structural damage was reported.