The last earthquake in East Tennessee occurred on July 29th, 2019 at 4:15am local time. The quake was reported to have a magnitude of 2. 9, which is considered light, and its epicenter was approximately 10 miles west of Sweetwater, Tennessee.
It was felt in the surrounding counties of McMinn, Monroe, Meigs, Loudon, and Bradley. The United State Geologic Survey (USGS) registered it as a minor earthquake with no significant damage reported.
However, some people did report feeling weak to light tremors in the area.
Earthquakes in East Tennessee are quite rare, however East Tennessee is noted for its seismic activity. There are numerous faults located in East Tennessee, including the Southern Appalachian Seismic Zone (SASZ), Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone (ETSZ), and the the Northern Appalachian Seismic Zone (NASZ).
The last major quake recorded from the NASZ was in 2003, and the last major quake from the SASZ was in 1973. Everyone should be prepared for the possibility of minor to moderate earthquakes occurring in the region.
Why is Tennessee having so many earthquakes?
Tennessee is experiencing an increase in earthquakes due to natural causes, rather than any human activity. In particular, the increased seismic activity could be the result of two primary causes: seismic stress transfers from neighboring states, and natural tectonic movement.
First, seismic stresses from neighboring states can be transferred hundreds of miles away, especially when those states contain large amounts of seismic activity. Along Tennessee’s border with Missouri and Arkansas, the New Madrid Seismic Zone creates intense earthquake activity, which can cause waves of seismic stress transfer to Tennessee and the surrounding states.
Second, the movement of earth plates beneath Tennessee and the surrounding area may also be the cause of increased earthquake activity. Over time, earth plates shift and grind against one another, releasing stored energy in the form of seismic activity.
This natural tectonic movement may be linked to the increased seismic activity in Tennessee, as this is a naturally occurring process of seismic activity in the region.
Overall, Tennessee’s increase in earthquakes is due to natural causes. Seismic stress transfers from neighboring states, and natural tectonic movement, are likely the two primary causes of this increase.
The state of Tennessee, however, is actively monitoring the region for any additional seismic activity, in order to keep residents safe.
Why is a 10.0 earthquake impossible?
A 10. 0 earthquake on the Richter scale is impossible because the magnitude scale is logarithmic, which means that each numerical unit on the scale represents a tenfold increase in magnitude. Therefore, if a 10.
0 earthquake were possible, it would mean that it would have to be ten times the magnitude of a 9. 0 earthquake, which is not possible since the magnitude of earthquakes is limited by the release of energy that is available from a specific fault.
Therefore, a 10. 0 earthquake is not physically possible.
How often does Tn get earthquakes?
Tennessee experiences anywhere from 20 to 25 earthquakes each year. Most of these are small quakes that are hardly felt. In the past two decades, the largest earthquake to hit the state was a magnitude 4.
6 that occurred on December 12, 2018 near Decatur in Chatsworth County. Although this was considered a minor event and no injuries or significant damages were reported, it was felt by more than 29 counties across Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.
Building regulations in the state of Tennessee are not as complex as in California and other states prone to earthquakes, so it is important to understand the risks of living in an area where earthquakes are possible and take the necessary precautions to protect your home and family.
If you live in a region that experiences earthquakes, consider retrofitting or reinforcing your existing home as an additional safety measure.
Has TN ever had an earthquake?
Yes, Tennessee has had an earthquake in the past. On April 29, 2003, the state experienced the strongest earthquake in its history. The earthquake measured 4. 6 on the Richter Scale and struck at approximately 10:56 a.
m. local time. The epicenter of the tremors was in northern Alabama, just south of the Tennessee border. It was felt throughout the southeastern United States, most notably in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and Alabama.
There have also been several smaller, but still significant earthquakes in the state since 2003. In 2013, a magnitude 3. 3 earthquake shook Maryville, and in 2015, a magnitude 4. 4 earthquake was felt in Donaldson, both of which were centered in east Tennessee.
How many earthquakes does Tennessee have a year?
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Tennessee has an average of about 50-60 earthquakes per year, though some years have had as many as 80. Most earthquakes in the state range from magnitude 1.
0 to 3. 3, although larger earthquakes can and do occur. The largest earthquake to occur in Tennessee in recent years was a magnitude 4. 4 in December 2018 that was felt as far away as Alabama and Kentucky.
There have also been several earthquakes in the magnitude 3. 0 to 3. 5 range that have been widely felt throughout the state.
Was Tennessee once underwater?
Yes, Tennessee was once underwater. During the Ordovician Period (nearly 500 million years ago) the area that is now part of Tennessee was below an ancient ocean. This ocean was called the Iapetus Ocean and at this time, the Appalachian Mountains had not yet formed.
Over millions of years, deposits of sand, gravel, and mud from rivers and streams accumulated at the bottom of the Iapetus Ocean which settlement the sea floor bit by bit. This sediment created a variety of sedimentary rocks which make up the majority of the geography in Tennessee today.
As the Iapetus Ocean eventually shrank, the Appalachian Mountains began to form and rise. Geological uplift led to the eventual emergence of the land in Tennessee, creating the terrain and geography that stand today.
Does Tennessee sit on a fault line?
No, Tennessee does not sit on a fault line. While some earthquakes have been documented in Tennessee, the state is not situated on any major fault lines and is generally considered to be at low risk for seismic activity.
The most active seismic zone within the state is the New Madrid Seismic Zone, located on the western side of the state near the Mississippi River. This seismic zone has experienced some of the largest earthquakes recorded in U.
S. history, though most of the quakes that have occurred have been small in magnitude. While some minor tremors may occur from time to time, Tennessee is not considered to be at risk from major earthquakes.
Where is the East Tennessee Seismic Zone?
The East Tennessee Seismic Zone (ETSZ) is an area of earth located in east Tennessee, western North Carolina, and northern Georgia, where a series of earthquakes have occurred in recent years. This region encompasses an area of around 7,000 square miles, stretching from Harriman and Norris, Tennessee in the north to Chickamauga, Georgia in the south.
This area is home to several major fault lines, including the East Tennessee-Georgia Basin (ETGB), Middle Tennessee Fault Zone (MTFZ), and Barnwell Fault Zone (BFZ). The epicenter of the most recent events was near the town of Decatur, Tennessee.
The East Tennessee Seismic Zone has experienced moderate to intense seismic activity since at least the mid-1800’s, with several significant events occurring in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
While the region experienced occasional seismic activity prior to 2000, more frequent and intense earthquakes have been observed since then, including a magnitude 4. 4 located near Knoxville in December of 2017.
These events are recorded by the US Geological Survey and monitored closely by the US Geological Survey’s Network of Tennessee Seismic Monitoring Instruments.
Due to the frequent occurrences of earthquakes in the East Tennessee Seismic Zone, it is one of the most closely monitored seismic regions in the world. The US Geological Survey oversees the earth science related activities in the region and makes proactive efforts to assess and inform citizens of the potential risks associated with seismic activity in the area.
Additionally, the East Tennessee Earthquake Education Program (ETEEP) is part of a larger effort to ensure that individuals are familiar with the details of seismic events in the area and how to properly react in the event of an earthquake.
Is Tennessee prone to natural disasters?
Yes, Tennessee is prone to natural disasters, including floods, winter storms, tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, and even volcanoes. Floods in Tennessee happen fairly regularly, especially during periods of heavy rainfall.
In the winter, Tennessee can be subject to large snowstorms, ice storms, and extreme cold temperatures. Tornadoes are a common occurrence in the state, especially during the warmer months. Thunderstorms can cause flash flooding and other disruptions.
Lightning is also a real threat in Tennessee, and it can cause fires and power outages. Finally, the state is home to multiple active volcanoes, including Reelfoot Volcano, which last erupted over 200 years ago.
What states are on the fault line?
A fault line is an area where two tectonic plates meet and the movement of the two plates push against one another, forming fractures known as faults. The tectonic plates of the Earth’s crust consist of the Pacific, North American and Juan de Fuca Plates.
Along the fault line, certain states are located on or near a fault line, such as California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Montana and Utah. The San Andreas Fault in California is the most famous fault line.
Other notable fault lines in the United States include the New Madrid Seismic Zone in Missouri and the Cascadia Subduction Zone running along the Pacific coast of Northern California, Oregon and Washington.
The faults in these states have the potential to cause large earthquakes, so they are closely monitored by seismic stations and emergency response agencies.