5.1 Magnitude Quake Rattles Western North Carolina

The Washington Post reports:

A preliminary magnitude 5.1 earthquake occurred near Sparta, in northwestern North Carolina at 8:07 a.m. on Sunday morning, very near the Virginia border. The quake rattled the Carolina Piedmont, but was reportedly felt as far away as Atlanta, part of Tennessee, Washington D.C., and Ohio.

It appears to be the strongest North Carolina quake in more than a century, since the 1916 quake that struck near Asheville in Buncombe County. That quake was also likely a magnitude 5.1 or slightly stronger. It is the strongest tremor in the Mid-Atlantic since the 5.8-magnitude event on Aug. 23, 2011 in Mineral, Va.

Numerous aftershocks, many of which will be felt in the immediate vicinity of the 5.1 magnitude quake, are likely for upwards of a week to come as the earth continues to settle, shift, and release stress.