An early morning earthquake in east Tennessee early Wednesday December 12th was widely felt over the Southeast U.S.
The magnitude 4.4 quake struck around 4:14 am est and was followed about 12 minutes later by a magnitude 3.3 aftershock.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, light shaking was observed over most of the Atlanta metro area, and a number of states from southern Alabama to South Carolina, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
This quake was one of the strongest on record in east Tennessee, exceeded only by a November 30, 1973 near Maryville, south of Knoxville which lead to minor damage near the epicenter.
Today's earthquake reminds us that it is always a good idea to be prepared for any type of emergency.
What is an earthquake? An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of underground rock. Earthquakes can cause buildings to collapse and cause heavy items to fall, resulting in injuries and property damage. Earthquakes can:
- Happen anywhere – though higher risk areas include California, Alaska, and the Mississippi Valley;
- Happen without warning;
- Cause fires and damage roads; and
- Cause tsunamis, landslides, and avalanches.
If an earthquake happens, protect yourself right away. Drop, Cover, then Hold On!
- If in a vehicle, pull over and stop.
- If in bed, stay there.
- If outdoors, stay outdoors.
- Do not get in a doorway.
- Do not run outside.
HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN AN EARTHQUAKE THREATENS
- Secure items, such as televisions, and objects that hang on walls. Store heavy and breakable objects on low shelves.
- Practice Drop, Cover, then Hold On with family and coworkers. Drop to your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms. Crawl only as far as needed to reach cover from falling materials. Hold on to any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops.
- Create a family emergency communications plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated.
- Make a supply kit that includes enough food and water for at least three days, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, and a whistle. Consider each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
- Consider obtaining an earthquake insurance policy. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover earthquake damage.
- Consider a retrofit of your building to correct structural issues that make it vulnerable to collapse during an earthquake.