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Earthquake rattles area


SALYERSVILLE – Many local people reported feeling the earthquake that hit along the Kentucky-Tennessee border Monday afternoon.

At approximately 2:12 p.m. on January 20 the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said a 3.8-magnitude earthquake hit the area, with the epicenter near Fincastle, Tennessee. In Kentucky, reports of people feeling the quake spanned southern and southeastern areas of the state, and it was recorded on a seismograph in Lexington.

While no one here in the Independent office felt the earthquake, we did reach out to the community with a Facebook post, quickly receiving 19 responses from people in Magoffin who felt the ground shake. People in downtown Salyersville, on East Mountain Parkway, May Branch and several more out in Magoffin County reported feeling the earthquake.

According to the USGS, a 2.8-magnitude earthquake hit the same area the day before, as did a 2.4 quake the day after, but both went relatively unnoticed locally. These earthquakes occurred in an area known as the East Tennessee Seismic Zone (ETSZ), which is a roughly 250 km-long band that parallels the southern Appalachian Mountains from northeast Alabama through Tennessee to southwest Virginia and possibly northeast Kentucky. Approximately 70 to 100 events are recorded annually along this area, with nearly all too small to be felt, making the ETSZ the second-most active region of naturally occurring seismicity in the eastern U.S. (with the New Madrid being the most active). 


Heather Oney

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