A 5.1 magnitude earth shook Charlotte shortly after 8 a.m on Sunday morning. The quake was centered just over a mile south of Sparta, near the Virginia border. Experts say it is the strongest quake to hit Carolina in over a century
According to National Weather Service, the last time such magnitude of earthquake was felt was in 1916, when a 5.2 magnitude quake occurred near Skyland, just outside of Asheville. Making this the second earthquake in North Carolina
Sparta NC is an Alleghany County town with a population of 1,800 people about 100 miles north of Charlotte.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the earthquake was centered about 22miles deep underground.
Cracks in the pavements, brick facades and cracked walls were all recorded as seen from photos posted on the internet by people in the direct impact zone of the quake.
Apart from the high magnitude 5.1 quake, five other quakes were recorded in the area, all ranging between 2.1 to 2.6, according to the USGS.
Comments flooded the social media space as people are being roused from sleep amid the quakes.
Charlotte area residents were quick to point out this was just the latest unexpected development in a year that already brought a global pandemic, economic crisis, contentious presidential election and a hurricane — just last week — to North Carolina.
“I’m ready to get off of this 2020 roller coaster. I did not have earthquake on my Charlotte 2020 bingo card,” Erin Breeden wrote on Twitter.
Sean Bemis, a research scientist in the Virginia Tech earthquake lab, explained that such high magnitude earthquakes are not common to North Carolina, as they are on the west coast where shifting tectonic plates are active and are being studied.
However he said that there is a history or mini quakes in the area, like the earthquake today, particularly around the Appalachian Mountains, more like the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia in 2011.
“We know these things happen (but) we’re still working on ‘what are the mechanisms that are driving these things to happen?’” he said.
Some of the posts on the internet revealing the damage done by the natural disaster are below;