How to prepare for an earthquake
A 3.0 earthquake in east Tennesee was felt in neighboring states including Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina.
The quake originated near Mascot, Tenn., or about 14 miles northeast of Knoxville.
The USGS reported light to weak shaking was felt in the areas immediately surrounding the origin, as well as near Lancing, Tenn., Barbourville, Ky. and Dallas, Ga.
In North Carolina, the quake was felt near Marshall, which is about 21 miles northwest of Asheville, and near Brevard, about 34 miles southwest of Asheville.
No damage was reported as of Sunday morning, according to the USGS.
The earthquake occurred in the East Tennessee Seismic Zone, according to the Geological Society of America That zone stretches from northeastern Alabama to Kentucky and is one of the most active zones in the Eastern United States.
“Smaller quakes like these aren’t likely to be noticed, but a quake’s magnitude doesn’t necessarily indicate how intensely it is felt,” according to the USGS. “The magnitudes are graded on scales,” The News & Observer previously reported.
“The Richter Scale is not commonly used anymore, the USGS says. It’s been replaced by the moment magnitude scale, which is more accurate,” The N&O previously reported.
Sunday’s quake follows a larger earthquake also in eastern Tennessee on Dec. 12 — a 4.0 quake that shook parts of North Carolina and upstate South Carolina, according to the USGS, and was followed by several aftershocks, including a 3.0 and a 2.6.
North Carolina has had 14 earthquakes stronger than 0.5 so far this year, though most were very weak, according to the USGS. The earthquakes — almost all in western North Carolina — ranged in strength from about 1.5 to about 2.7.
There are hundreds of larger quakes, like 6.0 magnitude earthquakes, worldwide each year. Small quakes happen across the world every hour or so, according to USGS data, The News & Observer previously reported.
Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S., although less frequent than on the West Coast, are usually felt over a much larger area, according to the USGS.
“East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as 10 times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the West Coast,” according to USGS. “A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 60 miles from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 300 miles from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 25 miles,” according to the USGS, The N&O previously reported.
“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,” according to USGS. “The largest earthquake in the area (magnitude 5.1) happened in 1916. Moderately damaging earthquakes strike the inland Carolinas every few decades, and smaller earthquakes are felt about once each year or two,” according to the USGS, The N&O previously reported.