5.1 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Parts of North Carolina, Georgia: USGS

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
August 9, 2020US News
5.1 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Parts of North Carolina, Georgia: USGS
Various items litter the floor of the 4 Brothers Store in Sparta, N.C., after an earthquake shook much of North Carolina early on Aug. 9, 2020. (Michael Hull via AP)

A 5.1 magnitude earthquake shook parts of North Carolina and Georgia, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in what has been described as the second-strongest quake on record in the region.

The National Weather Service, citing the USGS, wrote that the “5.1 magnitude earthquake near Sparta, NC this morning is the second strongest earthquake to occur in NC since 1900.”

It added, “The strongest was a 5.2 magntitude [sic] earthquake near Skyland, NC in February 1916.”

NTD Photo
A map of the area where a 5.1 magnitude earthquake shook parts of North Carolina and Georgia on Aug. 9, 2020. (USGS)

The USGS’s website suggested that a number of people reported feeling the tremor on Sunday morning.

“Since at least 1776, people living inland in North and South Carolina, and in adjacent parts of Georgia and Tennessee, have felt small earthquakes and suffered damage from infrequent larger ones. The largest earthquake in the area (magnitude 5.1) occurred in 1916,” said the USGS.

It’s not clear if any injuries or damage was done by the quake.

Later, the USGS wrote that there is a chance that an aftershock will hit the region in the next week or so. A quake with a 3.0 magnitude or greater has a 57 percent chance of occurring, while a quake of 5.0 magnitude or greater has just a 5 percent chance of happening, said the seismic agency.

On Twitter, locals wrote they could feel the tremor.

“Yes, I felt it in Henderson County and already filled out the site survey. The focal mechanism shows NE-SW shortening,” one wrote.

Said another: “Felt significant shaking here in #Charlotte, near Carowinds. I was awake; it woke my husband. Probably the strongest #earthquake I’ve felt, this being my 4th one (2 in Charlotte & 2 in Lancaster PA). Wonder if we’ll feel aftershocks, since this was the 2nd to hit Sparta in 24hrs.”

One wrote, “Felt it in Huntersville, NC. Light/weak shaking. Like a large truck going by the house.” Added one: “Yes , I was on my porch and felt it very strongly. My whole house was shaking. I have never felt anything like that before….I live in Lincolnton. N.C.”

Other details about the quake were not provided.

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