Sparta mayor describes ‘jolt’ after third earthquake strikes this month


SPARTA, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- No reports of damage or injuries in Sparta after another earthquake shook this city yesterday. This time it was 2.2 magnitude with 30 people reporting the shakes.

This is their third earthquake in just three weeks. While minor, residents still feel the ground moving beneath them. Experts tell FOX 46 this is common for the area, calling it a seismic zone.

“It felt like a truck backed into the building actually is what it felt like. That proceeded by a loud boom. And it really just shook the whole building,” Sparta Mayor Wes Brinegar said.

That’s how he described Thursday’s 2.2 magnitude earthquake–the city’s third quake in just one month.

They have been feeling many smaller shakes after a big earthquake struck last August. The 5.1 magnitude was one of the strongest earthquakes to hit North Carolina in 100 years, causing significant damage to homes and businesses.

UNC Charlotte Geologist Dr. Andy Bobyarchick compares the constant shakes to a weak, broken bone that just won’t heal.

“Millions of years ago we did have active earthquake faults in North Carolina but the tectonic situation changed. So what is happening now, these earthquakes the very recent, small Sparta, NC earthquakes and even the larger one from last year, those are occurring on old fractures almost randomly.”

That old Earth crust puts the western Carolina’s in a seismic zone, seen clearly here by all the earthquake reports since 1983. These often form near mountains because millions of years ago, a massive earthquake is what gave us the Appalachian Chain.

“We’re on edge. We hear the slightest little thing and think it’s an earthquake now,” explains Mayor Brinegar.

These seismic waves or earthquakes travel at kilometers a second, so these often come without warning.

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