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USGS: 5 earthquakes rattle area near Smokies

Associated Press • Feb 12, 2020 at 4:31 AM

GATLINBURG — Five small earthquakes rattled an area near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the U.S. Geological Survey reported Tuesday.

The first quake registered at 2:48 a.m. and the last was reported at 6:56 a.m., The News & Observer of Raleigh reported, citing USGS data, which also said all five were small, between magnitude 1.3 and 1.7.

The earthquake swarm hit in a small area about 25 miles  southwest of Knoxville, near the North Carolina border. They were likely too small to be felt by people in the area, the agency said.

“Earthquakes too small to cause damage are felt about once a year. Earthquakes too small to be felt are abundant in the seismic zone, and seismographs have recorded hundreds of them in recent decades,“ the USGS said.

The Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone, also known as the East Tennessee Seismic Zone and the Southern Appalachian Seismic Zone, is a geographic band stretching from northeastern Alabama to southwestern Virginia that is subject to frequent small earthquakes. It is one of the most active earthquake zones in the eastern United States.

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