Six Earthquakes in Five Days Reported in Smokey Mountains Area of North Carolina

By Victor Westerkamp

A series of six minor earthquakes rattled the Smokey Mountains area in North Carolina earlier this week ranging in magnitude from 1.4 to 2.5 and were felt as far away as Charlotte.

No casualties were reported. The most powerful shock happened Thursday around 3:15 a.m. outside the town of Cherokee, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Because the epic center in all cases was relatively shallow, at about a 5 miles depth, the shockwaves were felt in places as far away in Charlotte, about 200 miles further east.

The U.S. Geological Survey says there were a number of small earthquakes in the Smokey Mountains area near Cherokee in western North Carolina (USGS)

At just about 100 miles east of the seismic center, near Spring City in Tennessee valley, Watts Bar nuclear power plant is located. WSOCTV reached out to the management of the plant and was confirmed per spokesperson Jim Hopson that there were absolutely no damages reported and the plant had stayed safely in non-stop operation.

Here’s the complete list of tremors southwest of Cherokee, as reported by the USGS:

  • Sept. 7, 8:14 p.m.: 1.9 magnitude, 5 miles south of Cherokee
  • Sept. 9, 4:21 a.m.: 1.4 magnitude, 3.1 miles south-southwest of Cherokee
  • Sept. 9, 3:08 p.m.: 2.0 magnitude, 3.1 miles south-southwest of Cherokee
  • Sept. 11, 8:13 p.m.: 2.3 magnitude, 3.7 miles south of Cherokee
  • Sept. 11, 11:03 p.m.: 2.5 magnitude, 2.5 miles southwest of Cherokee
  • Sept. 11, 11:14 p.m.: 2.1 magnitude, 3.7 miles south-southwest of Cherokee

A few dozens of people reported the strongest earthquake of 2.5 magnitude on Wednesday and only a handfull reported the minor ones of which some went completely unnoticed.

The Eastern Tennessee seismic zone is one of the most active in the southwest, but it’s not the only one in the nation. Meanwhile, across the country, in Yellowstone Park there is another notorious site:

Deadly 1959 Earthquake Still Rattling Yellowstone 60 Years Later

A staggering number of small earthquakes that rocked Yellowstone National Park between 2017 and 2018 had brought fears of an impending supervolcano, but a recent study tells a different story.

A study by the Geophysical Research Letters at the University of Utah suggests that the swarms of earthquakes might actually be the aftershocks of the Hebgen Lake earthquake that struck Yellowstone 60 years ago on Aug. 17, 1959.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake jolted the land of Montana for about 30 seconds, toppling the dining room fireplace in the historic Old Faithful Inn and killing 28 people.

A map of the earthquakes that occurred in Yellowstone from 1973 to 2017. Red circles represent quakes while blue circles show the aftershocks, the size indicates the magnitude. (University of Utah via USGS)

The shock was so powerful that the ground in some areas dropped by 20 feet. A new lake named Quake Lake was formed in Montana, and water in wells of Hawaii—about 4,900 miles away—rose up as a result.

“These kinds of earthquakes in Yellowstone are very common,” said Keith Koper, director of the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, according to a news release. “These swarms happen very frequently. This one was a little bit longer and had more events than normal.”

Guanning Pang and Koper, who co-wrote the study, analyzed the patterns of 3,345 earthquakes that took place between June 2017 and March 2018 along Maple Creek in the northwestern part of Yellowstone.

According to Koper, earthquakes are different from other natural catastrophes such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires in that the tremors can keep coming for months or even decades.

Epoch Times reporter Eva Fu contributed to this report