Whitfield County earthquake not as big as thought

Whitfield County earthquake not as big as thought

January 17th, 2013 by Lindsay Burkholder in Local Regional News

Earthquake tile

Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Times Free Press.

Most people probably didn't feel it, but on Tuesday night a little earthquake rattled Whitfield County, Ga.

The exact time was 7:39 p.m, according to the United States Geological Service. At first, experts exaggerated the impact, but they later determined it was a 2.1-magnitude quake.

For most, it would have felt like a truck driving by. Just a rumble.

"An earthquake of 2.1 magnitude is pretty tiny," said Julian Gray, curator and geologist at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Ga. "Even at the epicenter, you would have to have been pretty quiet to feel it."

After it happened, calls came into the county's 911 center from the western part of the county -- mostly Sam Love Road, Jeff Ownby, deputy director of emergency management in Whitfield County, said. But no damage was reported.

Sheila Peppers Dyer wrote on Facebook that her daughter called her Tuesday and said she had felt the quake in Cleveland, Ga.

"I felt one months ago under my home from the earthquake north of here; [it] felt as if my home was sitting on marbles," she wrote.

Eastern Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama sit on top of a network of faults called the Eastern Tennessee seismic zone. Earthquakes large enough to be felt but too small to cause damage occur in the area about once a year, according to the geological service.

The largest recorded earthquake in the region occurred on April 29, 2003, near Fort Payne, Ala., and was a 4.6-magnitude quake, according to the USGS website.