Earthquake shakes up area residents

Published 3:55 pm Thursday, August 13, 2020

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If you were shaken awake Sunday morning from an otherwise peaceful slumber, you might have been one of 103,869 people who felt the earthquake that originated under Sparta, North Carolina.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) confirmed a 5.1 magnitude earthquake on Sunday, Aug. 9, with an epicenter in Sparta, North Carolina, with reports of shakes coming from parts of Virginia and South Carolina. The earthquake happened at 8:07 a.m. Sparta is near the border of North Carolina and Virginia.

Lunenburg County resident Vanessa Reed Martin said she felt the earthquake.

“I definitely felt it,” Martin said, “I was sitting at the computer, and at 8:08 a.m. I looked at the computer clock to remember the time, and I felt my chair gently moving and the desk that my arms were resting on.”

In Victoria, Sheryl McKinney was sitting on her couch when she felt the earthquake.

According to the USGS by 2 p.m.  Sunday, the number of earthquake reports had climbed to more than 90,000 with those closest to the epicenter reporting strong to very strong shaking, while others further away reported weak to light shaking.

The USGS said large earthquakes are relatively uncommon in the region directly surrounding the Sparta, North Carolina earthquake.

According to the USGS, moderately damaging earthquakes strike the inland Carolinas every few decades. Smaller earthquakes are felt about once each year or two.

The largest recent earthquake to impact the east coast was a 5.8 magnitude that struck Mineral Aug. 23, 2011.