Hamblen County works with earthquake researchers to find cause

Hamblen County works with earthquake researchers to find cause of boom

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Barber Bobby Hughes and his customers were startled by a loud boom Tuesday afternoon. Barber Bobby Hughes and his customers were startled by a loud boom Tuesday afternoon.
EMA director Chris Bell says they didn't get reports of rumbles in the northern or southern parts of the county, and that most of the reports came from the center of Morristown. EMA director Chris Bell says they didn't get reports of rumbles in the northern or southern parts of the county, and that most of the reports came from the center of Morristown.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

MORRISTOWN (WATE) - Two separate tremors have people in Hamblen County puzzled, as county officials try to find out the cause.

County leaders don't want to speculate what the cause of the shaking was until they look at all the options, but now say they have a new lead.

Barber Bobby Hughes and his customers were startled by a loud boom Tuesday afternoon.

"I was preparing to do a shave. I had him reclined here in the chair, and it so frightened him that he jumped up from the chair," Hughes explained.

It's not the first instance of unexplained rumbling in the Morristown area.

Hughes says his brother experienced the same thing at home a few weeks back.

"They called 911, and the police were there, and people were out in the yards and they still hadn't found an explanation for that," Hughes said.

The Hughes brothers weren't the only ones startled by the rumbling.

About 160 people called 911 to report the incidents at 4 p.m., and then again just after 9 p.m.

"I'll tell you what, it shook the whole house here. I thought something blew up," one caller said.

The Morristown-Hamblen Emergency Management Agency is still investigating, but there weren't any reports of fires, and they say it isn't sewer-related.

EMA director Chris Bell says they didn't get reports of rumbles in the northern or southern parts of the county, and that most of the reports came from the center of Morristown.

"We're not seeing any major damage, therefore, we know at this point, just from visible evidence that there is not real need to panic," Bell said.

Morristown-Hamblen EMA is now in contact with the Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI) in Memphis.

According to Bell, the CERI reports to USGS. There is other data that has to be reviewed by hand, and researchers are still analyzing that data from Tuesday's rumbles.

Bell says CERI told him it is possible the rumbles were caused by an earthquake, as activity was recorded from the Hamblen County area all the way to Virginia.

He says is also possible the rumbles were caused by mining blasts.

Researchers should be able to confirm data by Thursday.

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