Current News



5.1-magnitude earthquake shakes parts of the Southeast early Sunday, officials say

Bailey Aldridge, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in News & Features

RALEIGH, N.C. -- An 5.1-magnitude earthquake reported in North Carolina shook much of the Southeast early Sunday.

The quake occurred at 8:07 a.m. with an epicenter in Sparta, North Carolina -- near the Virginia border, and just north of Stone Mountain State Park -- according to the U.S. Geological Society.

In North Carolina, it was felt as far away as the Raleigh area, The News & Observer reported. In the Charlotte area, there were widespread reports of shaking, McClatchy News reports. People near the epicenter reported feeling "strong shaking" from the quake.

The 5.1-magnitude quake was the second strongest to occur in North Carolina since 1900, according to the National Weather Service -- with the strongest, a 5.2, reported near Skyland in the Asheville area in 1916.

Effects of the quake extended into eastern Tennessee, USGS says.

Many in the Midlands region of South Carolina also reported feeling the quake, The State reports.

Parts of northern Georgia also reportedly felt the quake. Shaking in Alpharetta and White, Georgia were reported to the USGS.

The shaking also reached Virginia and Kentucky, according to officials.

More than 6,000 people in seven states reported feeling the quake to officials, The News & Observer reports.


"I was doing laundry when I felt the shake start, and I thought I had vertigo for a second," Echo Idalski posted on Facebook from Moravian Falls, NC. "Then, my mind went to wondering if there was a malfunction with the AC. Probably 15 seconds later, just as it stopped, I ran out the front door to see the bird feeders and houses swinging with no wind. It was neat. "

The 5.1 magnitude earthquake was the second to shake the area Sunday morning.

A 2.6-magnitude quake with an epicenter Sparta occurred at 1:57 a.m., the USGS says.

No major damage was reported immediately following the quake, The News & Observer reports.

But Randy Baldwin, geophysicist with the National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado, told The News & Observer "there is a good chance there will be aftershocks," which can sometimes continue for a couple weeks after the quake.

(c)2020 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Visit The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.