Earthquake rattles Southwestern Virginia

The shaking began around 8:06 a.m. and lasted about 30 seconds.

An earthquake centered near Sparta, North Carolina shook homes and businesses in Floyd County shortly after 8:06 a.m. Sunday for 20-30 seconds.

The U.S. Geological Survey is confirming it recorded the quake and said it was a 5.1 on the Richter scale.

The minor rattles in Floyd County lit up Facebook Sunday morning with reports from throughout the area.

USGS says a smaller quake with a 2.6 rating occurred just before 2 a.m. Sunday and also warned that aftershocks are possible in the coming week with a 57 percent chance of at least a 3 magnitude and a 5 percent chance of one of five or larger at the same location.

Reports Kevin Myatt of The Roanoke Times:

Quakes occasionally occur in the Appalachian mountains, where folds of rock contain many small fault lines. A 3.2-magnitude quake occurred north of Pearisburg in 2017, and Giles County was the center of a 5.6-magnitude quake in 1897.

Virginia’s biggest earthquake of recent times occurred east of the Blue Ridge, in Louisa County, on August 23, 2011, measured at 5.8 magnitude. That quake was felt up and down the East Coast and produced many lesser aftershocks.

–Kevin Myatt

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