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Public Notices

April 16, 2014

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Quake Caused Rumble; No Damage Reported

Originally published: 2012-11-12 10:40:36
Last modified: 2012-11-12 10:43:03

Shakes, Rattles

Were Widespread

As 4.3 Magnitude

Hit On Saturday



Some Greene County residents likened the earthquake that rattled their houses at 12:08 p.m. Saturday to a shaking or rumbling sensation.

The epicenter of the quake, which was of 4.3 magnitude, was in Kentucky, about 46 miles northwest of Kingsport.

No damage or injuries were reported in Greene County. Several worried or curious people called the Greene County Sheriff's Department, but the Greeneville Police Department didn't receive any calls.

The local effects of the temblor apparently depended on the location.

"We felt the earthquake," Darla Lane of Old Stage Road wrote to

"We thought it was just the washer shaking our bed and couch. We live in apartments, and my husband said our apartment was all concrete."


Sharon Miser, of Love Street, wrote, "I felt the earthquake. It shook me in my chair. I had some blankets folded up on the footstool beside me and they were shaking.

"At first I thought it was the washing machine spinning, but I did not have anything in the washing machine ... it scared me!!! I finally looked at the Greeneville Sun website to confirm it was an earthquake," Miser wrote.

Amanda Preston of Greene County wrote that she and her husband were sitting in their living room "when suddenly our wood-burning stove's glass door started rattling.

"Then we noticed the windows starting making quite a bit of noise. We both stood up knowing there was something wrong. We stared at each other, while we waited for our house to stop shaking and making noise."


Others posted comments on The Greeneville Sun's Facebook page.

Feather Holt Payne, of Limestone, wrote, "I knew my house was shaking."

Some residents of the West Greene and North Greene sections of Greene County reported that they didn't feel a thing.

Not so for Quinten Bowlin of Greeneville.

"We live in the city, and yes we felt it WOW!" Bowlin posted.

Patricia Oney Partin wrote, "I wondered what that low rumbling was on Newport Highway."

Others living in the DeBusk, Camp Creek, Glenwood and Orebank communities said they felt the earthquake, along with readers in Tusculum and Johnson City.

"It was felt in the South Greene area. Dogs jumped off the couch and ran to the door barking," Judy Williams wrote.

Added Sherry Lynn Nelson, of Telford, "windows shook and chairs vibrated, and just a weird sound and feeling. .. lasted about a minute it seemed."

"We felt it also at my home on the Asheville Highway next to Greenlawn Church and Cemetery," Darlene Lowery Fann wrote.


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) website said the epicenter of Saturday afternoon's earthquake was about 10 miles west of Whitesburg, Ky., near the Virginia line.

Residents of Kentucky and Virginia, in addition to Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Ohio and Georgia, also reported feeling the temblor.

National Weather Service spokesman Jeff Carico told the Associated Press that employees at the office in Jackson, Ky., which is about 60 miles northwest of Whitesburg, felt the ground shake for about 15 seconds.

He said the office received numerous calls, but so far no one has reported any serious damage.

USGS geophysicist John Bellini said the quake is considered "light."

"It's not going to cause any significant damage," he said.

Bellini said people near the epicenter might have pictures fall off walls or books tumble from shelves.

Elsewhere in Tennessee, some workers at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge felt the temblor, but spokeswoman Ryn Etter said there was no impact to the plant.

Tennessee Valley Authority spokeswoman Jessica Stone said no problems from the quake have been reported at any plants operated by the nation's largest public utility.


Earthquakes in the region are not unheard of.

The most recent earthquake of note was on Aug. 23, 2011.

The unusually large East Coast 5.9-magnitude quake, which measured at the top of the range of what seismologists consider "moderate," was centered in Mineral, Va., a rural area not far from Richmond.

There were no injuries or serious damage in any location, but the power of the earthquake was felt hundreds of miles away, including Northeast Tennessee.

Dr. Katherine Stone, an assistant professor of mathematics, physics and geology at Tusculum College, said after the 2011 earthquake that the Great Smoky Mountains specifically -- and the Appalachian Mountains as a whole -- are ancient mountain ranges and in the process of "slowly settling down."

Stone said then that the process occasionally causes tremors and smaller-magnitude earthquakes.

"There have been extensive earthquakes in the area before," Stone said.

Most earthquakes felt locally, she noted, are caused by "a normal settling of the plates."

Greeneville Sun Director of Online Operations Brian Cutshall contributed substantially to this report.

For more information and stories, see The Greeneville Sun.

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