Earthquake near Whitesburg, Kentucky "isolated but not rare" according to seismologist

12:57 AM, Nov 11, 2012   |    comments
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"Noticed shaking, lasted about 15 seconds," said Morristown resident Rebecca Chambers after a 4.3 metered earthquake it in nearby Kentucky Saturday. At first, she thought she was crazy a tremor would hit anywhere in Tennessee.

"Thought my washer was out of balance so I went to the laundry room to check on the washer and the washer wasn't on," she said.

Instead, her first notion was correct: it was an earthquake.

"Then I looked an hour later and posted on Facebook that (friends) felt an earthquake as well," Chambers said.

Social media, including the WBIR Facebook page, talked about the quake, or what some thought was a tumbler.

That meant the 911 centers were busy too, including the Hamblen County Dispatch. Dozens of calls came in with concerns about the quake moments after the disturbance.

"We took calls like my house was shaking, can you tell me what's going on? and we tell them what we've been through too," said dispatcher Brian Fugate.


Local seismologist Dr. Greg Baker gave an explanation of why the earthquake hit Appalachia.

He said a small earthquake in the east can travel longer distances compared to the normal seismic hotbeds of California and the West Coast.

"It's like a soundwave that doesn't have to go through as many walls in a room. It can just travel across in one continuous plane," Dr. Baker said.

He said expect these quakes to happen, albeit they're not common.

"They're an isolated events, but they take place in the similar places of weakness in the crust," Dr. Baker added.

Still, some East Tennesseans like Chambers called the experienced "very strange."

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