Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake Shakes Sparta, North Carolina

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A magnitude 5.1 earthquake whose epicenter was roughly a mile southeast of Sparta, North Carolina occurred this morning at approximately 8:07 a.m.

Though it is not uncommon for small tremors to occur in the Appalachian Mountains (typically of a magnitude between M1-M2), a magnitude 5.1 is far more powerful than usual for this region.  Quakes of this size can cause damage of varying severity to poorly constructed buildings. Zero to slight damage to all other buildings and are felt by everyone locally.  Generally between 1,000 to 1,500 occur worldwide each year.

According to preliminary data, the quake was felt by individuals from Greenville, South Carolina, to Bedford, Virginia.

According to most reports, there have been no reports of major damage in the moments following the shaking; however, local emergency dispatch centers are requesting the public not to call 911 should any aftershocks occur unless there is a medical emergency.

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