Tennessee Earthquake felt throughout North Georgia
A few early birds may have noticed objects in their house rattling around just after 4 a.m. last Wednesday morning while others may have slept through the weak earthquake that shook up Eastern Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Metro-Atlanta.
The 4.4 magnitude earthquake originated in Decatur, Tenn., at 4:14 a.m. and was reportedly felt as far as Atlanta.
Around 13 minutes afterwards, the earthquake’s 3.3 magnitude aftershock rippled through Tennessee and into Georgia.
According to the Tellus Science Museum, the earthquake was the second strongest ever recorded in East Tennessee. Comments on their Facebook post showed Georgians from Chatsworth, Cumming, Dallas, Peachtree City and Rydal all felt the tremors this morning while Tennessee commenter’s reported being shaken awake by the earthquake.
Ryan Roney, curator at Tellus Science Museum, said anything above a 4.0 earthquake will be felt regionally.
He added earthquakes near this strength will happen every few years due to East Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and parts of Alabama being close to the Eastern Tennessee seismic zone.
Roney said this fault is not active like the San Andreas Fault on the West Coast, but activity can still be detected from time to time. He added for an earthquake to cause major damage it would have to be above a 6.o magnitude, which is extremely rare for this area.
Billy Morris, professor of geology at Georgia Highlands College, said the reason why the earthquake could be felt in Rome (around 118 miles from the earthquake origin) and as far as Atlanta (around 163 miles away from origin) was because this was a shallow earthquake.
“The (earth’s) crust is dynamic and creates stress,” he said. “That stress needs to be relieved.”
This is the second earthquake that has happened in close proximity to Floyd County in a little under a month. On Nov. 23, the United States Geological Survey reported a 2.7 magnitude earthquake just outside of Plainville.
In August, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported a 1.9 magnitude earthquake was recorded in Walker County near Villanow.
According to an AP report, a 2.4 earthquake was registered in June near Macon, and another earthquake of similar strength was reported in Northeast Georgia in January.
The report said the increase in reported earthquakes is a reflection of better equipment for measuring seismic activity. The National Earthquake Information Center records about 55 earthquakes per day.