A 2.8 magnitude Earthquake was reported in Bedford County Tuesday night, a little after 8:30 p.m. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter was near Shelbyville, Tennessee.
News 2 spoke to Dr. Christine Powell at the Center for Earthquake Research and Information at the University of Memphis for more information on Tuesday’s earthquake.
In Tennessee most earthquakes that occur are either associated with the New Madrid Seismic Zone, the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone, or are something called background earthquakes.
Background earthquakes can happen anywhere and are not associated with a seismic zone or fault lines. Tuesday night’s earthquake was most likely a background earthquake.
Background earthquakes are typically weaker and shallower than earthquakes that occur in seismic zones. This earthquake was just west of the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone and its location and depth indicate that it was most likely a background earthquake. The depth of this quake was 4.6 miles, typically quakes associated with the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone are deeper.
Earthquakes are very common here in Tennessee but it is rare that we feel them, especially background earthquakes. What made Tuesday night’s event unique is that usually you can’t feel a background earthquake but many residents of Bedford County did report shaking.
If you felt the shaking on Tuesday night or feel the impacts of an earthquake in the future, the US Geological Survey wants to know! “Did You Feel It?” is a program that collects information from people who felt an earthquake and creates maps that show what people experienced and the extent of damage.
You can report what you felt on the USGS website. The link is available here https://earthquake.usgs.gov/data/dyfi/