UT scientist says large earthquake possible in East Tennessee

UT scientist says East Tennessee could one day see 7.5 magnitude earthquake

Posted:
A 4.3 magnitude earthquake struck Whitesburg, Kentucky on Saturday. A 4.3 magnitude earthquake struck Whitesburg, Kentucky on Saturday.
University of Tennessee professor Dr. Bob Hatcher said the earthquake could be felt for miles across states because the fault occurred within a plate, not between two plates where the crust is less intact. University of Tennessee professor Dr. Bob Hatcher said the earthquake could be felt for miles across states because the fault occurred within a plate, not between two plates where the crust is less intact.
"The people who figure probability on earthquakes for the U.S. Geological Survey say this area could produce a magnitude 7.5," said Dr. Bob Hatcher. "The people who figure probability on earthquakes for the U.S. Geological Survey say this area could produce a magnitude 7.5," said Dr. Bob Hatcher.
East Tennessee has the second most active seismic zone in the Eastern United States. East Tennessee has the second most active seismic zone in the Eastern United States.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Areas of East Tennessee were shaking Saturday after a 4.3 magnitude earthquake struck Whitesburg, Kentucky.

University of Tennessee professor Dr. Bob Hatcher said the earthquake could be felt for miles across states because the fault occurred within a plate, not between two plates where the crust is less intact.

"We don't know what the cause is exactly but there are forces moving plates all the time," said Dr. Hatcher. "But why do we have earthquakes within the plates? We do not know."

Hatcher said East Tennessee has the second most active seismic zone in the Eastern United States, but that normally the earthquakes in East Tennessee are smaller, keeping damage to a minimum.

That may not always be the case.

Hatcher said evidence shows there has been a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in the area, but the large earthquake happened hundreds of years ago.

"The people who figure probability on earthquakes for the U.S. Geological Survey say this area could produce a magnitude 7.5," he said.

His research seeks to find out when large earthquakes in East Tennessee have happened in the past and how frequently they recur.

He hopes the discovery of this information will give scientists an idea of when the next large earthquake could hit the area.

Hatcher said when and if that happens again, there will be damage.

"There would still be damage to roads, you'd have overpasses come down, you'd have bridges that might have cracks in them, and some bridges might fall," he said.

Hatcher said many buildings and homes would fall, but the dams and nuclear power plants should survive the shaking.

He said no matter the size of the quake, though, people should be prepared.

He advises homeowners to move from flood plains and if they live near a lake, be cognizant that a wave could come up 20 to 30 feet on the shore.

Residents should also have food and water and be prepared for a loss of electricity, he said, because there's no telling when the next one will happen.

Powered by WorldNow

1306 N. Broadway NE Knoxville,
Tennessee 37917

Telephone: 865.637.NEWS(6397)
Fax: 865.525.4091
Email: newsroom@wate.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Knoxville, Inc. A Media General Company.