The 5.1 magnitude earthquake was felt by approximately 45,000 people.

By Meghan Overdeep
August 10, 2020
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Earthquake Reading
Credit: kickers/Getty Images

Did you feel it?

A rare, 5.1 magnitude earthquake was reported at 8:07 a.m Sunday morning near Sparta, North Carolina, at about 2.3 miles below ground level, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The earthquake, which is one of the strongest in the state's history, was felt by approximately 45,000 people.  Fortunately, no serious injuries or widespread damage was reported.

Moderately damaging earthquakes strike the inland Carolinas every few decades, and smaller earthquakes are felt about once each year or two.

The Sunday morning quake is the second 5.1 magnitude earthquake in North Carolina history. The first took occurred more than a century ago, in 1916.

The USGS has recorded five tremors in the aftermath of the Sunday morning quake, including three this morning.

"When there are more earthquakes, the chance of a large earthquake is greater which means that the chance of damage is greater," the USGS said. "According to our forecast, over the next week there is a 4% chance of one or more aftershocks that are larger than magnitude 5.1. It is likely that there will be smaller earthquakes over the next week, with ... magnitude 3 or higher aftershocks."

The USGS is advising those in and around Alleghany County to be aware of the possibility of further aftershocks, especially near vulnerable structures such as unreinforced masonry buildings.