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3 earthquakes reported in Tennessee in about 24 hours

Posted at 9:45 AM, Jun 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-12 09:45:44-04

NASHVILLE — In just over 24 hours, three earthquakes have shaken Tennessee, but experts say this is not a rare phenomenon.

The United States Geological Surveyvconfirmed a 2.2-magnitude earthquake Tuesday morning just south of Sweetwater, Tennessee. About five hours earlier, a 1.6-magnitude earthquake was recorded about five miles east-southeast of Vonore, Tennessee. A 2.2-magnitude earthquake was also reported Monday morning west of Loretto, Tennessee.

No damage or injuries were reported in any of the incidents.

A total of six earthquakes have been recorded in Tennessee since the beginning of June. Earthquakes have also been detected in Ridgely, Tiptonville, and Manchester.

Mark Abolins, a geoscience professor at Middle Tennessee State University, said Tennessee sits between two seismic zones — the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the East Tennessee Seismic Zone. The New Madrid Seismic Zone extends from northeastern Arkansas into west Tennessee, southeastern Missouri, western Kentucky and southern Illinois. The East Tennessee Seismic Zone extends from northeastern Alabama into southwestern Virginia. Therefore, earthquake activity is common in both east and west Tennessee, but middle Tennessee isn’t immune.

“There are some cracks underground in this part of the state,” Abolins said. “From time to time, one block of the Earth moves relative to another.”

For the most part, the earthquakes this month weren’t large enough to be felt or cause any damage. However, that isn’t always the case. A 4.4-magnitude earthquake was felt in Decatur, Tennessee, in December 2018.

“That was the largest earthquake that had happened in east Tennessee since 1973,” Abolins said.

While most of the earthquakes are small and don’t make an impact, Abolins said it is still a good idea for Tennesseans to be prepared for something larger.

“The best way to prepare is the way to prepare for most unforeseen events,” he said. “Have a two to three day supply of water, nonperishable food, blankets, medicine, a first aid kit and flashlight.”

The USGS encouraged anyone who experiences an earthquake to report what the see and feel on their website .