April 29, 2003
KNOXVILLE (WATE and AP) -- Many East Tennesseans awoke Tuesday morning to the rumble of a minor earthquake.
The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake rattled the southeast Tuesday morning, registering 4.9 on the Richter scale.
A spokesman for the Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia, says it's rare for that strong of a quake to occur in the region.
Butch Kinerney says some people could have some broken china Tuesday morning. There are no reports of serious damage anywhere in the region.
In Tennessee, reports have come from people in several counties. The shake was felt as a shudder and heard as a low rolling, like thunder.
It was felt well into Kentucky.
The epicenter was near Mentone, Ala., along Interstate 59 near where Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia meet.
Kinerney says a small plate runs almost parallel to the interstate and has spawned some small quakes in the past. But he says the strength of this morning's temblor was "pretty unusual."
It's not uncommon to have as many as 300 earthquakes a month in East Tennessee. The majority of them can't be felt.
Since the start of 2003, there have been over 15 earthquakes detected in West Tennessee. Ridgely has the most detected quakes so far, with eight. But none of these are strong enough for most people to feel. The most powerful recorded quake in Ridgely this year is a 2.2 magnitude.
There have been two recorded quakes this year in East Tennessee. Tuesday's 4.9 Alabama tremor, was felt across the state. And on April 7th, the Chattanooga area experienced a weak tremor measuring a 2.0 magnitude.
6 News Anchor/Reporter Bo Williams also contributed to this report.
(Portions of this report copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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