Late Night Earthquake Near New River Along VA / WV Border

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May 12, 2017, at 7:43 a.m.

A 2.8-magnitude earthquake shook western Giles County, roughly seven miles from the New River early Friday morning, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The epicenter of the quake, which occurred at 12:31 a.m., was approximately 3.7 miles SSW of the Town of Narrows.  At this time, there is no known damage to any buildings.

According to initial “Did You Feel It” reports, the quake was felt more than 225 miles away at Falls Church, Virginia.

Though not nearly as common as in other places, the area around the New River in Southwestern Virginia sits in what is known as the Giles County Seismic Zone and has experienced several earthquakes over its recorded history — including an estimated 5.9-magnitude quake in 1897.

Since at least 1828, people in the Giles County seismic zone of southwestern Virginia and adjacent West Virginia have felt small earthquakes and suffered damage from infrequent larger ones. The largest damaging earthquake (magnitude 5.9) in the seismic zone occurred in 1897. Smaller, slightly damaging earthquakes occur at variable intervals, but in the zone they tend to occur a few decades apart. Still smaller earthquakes that cause no damage are felt once or twice a decade in the seismic zone.

Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S., although less frequent than in the western U.S., are typically felt over a much broader region. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast.

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