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Moderate earthquake rattles homes in North and South Carolina

US Geological Survey registers 5.1 magnitude quake Sunday morning, centered 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) south southeast of Sparta, NC

COLUMBIA, S.C. — NOTE: The video attached to this story with students practicing earthquake drills is from October 2018

You may have felt the ground shake a little after 8 a.m. Sunday. The US Geological Survey (USGS) reports a moderate 5.1 magnitude earthquake occurred at 8:07 a.m. August 9, centered approximately 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) south southeast of Sparta, NC, near the North Carolina, Virginia border.

Twitter users in the Charlotte area and some in Columbia reported feeling the quake. The USGS reported the coordinates of the epicenter to be
36.479°N 81.098°W and at a depth of 9 kilometers (5.6 miles).

RELATED: Earthquake shakes North Carolina and social media blows up

If you felt the quake, help USGS track it by filling out the survey at the USGS website.  

According to USGS, Sunday morning's earthquake is the largest in the area since a 5.1 magnitude quake registered in 1916. Moderately damaging quakes strike inland North and South Carolina every few decades with smaller quakes occurring on average every year or two.

People in the area of moderate quakes can expect to feel aftershocks for the next week or so. USGS predicts within the next week:

  • The chance of an earthquake of magnitude 3 or higher is 57 %, and it is most likely that as few as 0 or as many as 57 such earthquakes may occur in the case that the sequence is re-invigorated by a larger aftershock.
  • The chance of an earthquake of magnitude 5 or higher is 5 %, and it is most likely that as few as 0 or as many as 2 such earthquakes may occur.
  • The chance of an earthquake of magnitude 6 or higher is 1 in 200, such an earthquake is possible but with a low probability.
  • The chance of an earthquake of magnitude 7 or higher is 1 in 2,000, such an earthquake is possible but with a low probability.

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