USGS reports magnitude 5.1 earthquake near Sparta, NC

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(WBTW) — The United States Geological Survey reported a magnitude 5.1 earthquake just outside Sparta, North Carolina around 8:07 a.m. Sunday morning.

The quake was reported to be felt from South Carolina to Virginia with some reports coming in from Tennessee as well, according to the USGS website.

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) occurred 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 USGS.

USGS says that earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S., although less frequent than in the western U.S., are typically felt over a much broader region. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast.

A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 100 km (60 mi) 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 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi), according to USGS.

If you felt the earthquake, you can report it to the USGS website here.

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