April 29, 2003
(Atlanta-AP) -- The U.S. Geological Survey now says an earthquake that rattled the Southeast this morning registered 4.9, not the 4.5 reading first reported.
A spokesman for the Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia, says it's rare for that strong of a quake to occur in the region. Butch Kinerney says some people could have some broken china this morning. There are no reports of serious damage anywhere in the region.
In Tennessee, reports have come from people in several counties. The shake was felt as a shudder and heard as a low rolling, like thunder. It was felt well into Kentucky. The epicenter was along Interstate 59 near where Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia meet.
Kinerny says a small plate runs almost parallel to the interstate and has spawned some small quakes in the past. But he says the strength of this morning's temblor was "pretty unusual."
Susan Battles of the DeKalb County emergency management office in Fort Payne, Alabama says the quake cracked foundations and knocked a mobile home off its foundation and tools off the wall.
Emergency management officials in the Fort Payne area said there were scattered power outages but that most people experienced only minor damage to dishes and pictures knocked off walls.
Residents of several counties in Tennessee reported hearing a low, rolling sound like thunder, and feeling the quake as a shudder.
The same was true in Atlanta, about 160 miles from the epicenter. A spokesman for the Geological Survey says the area including Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia has experienced a handful of small earthquakes over the last century.
The largest earthquake ever recorded in Alabama was magnitude 4.9 in 1997, centered in Escambia County in the south.
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Updated at 10:12AM