by James Matthews- Flat Creek — Residents were all shook up after an earthquake rumbled through the Flat Creek and Weaverville areas.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that a 2.5 magnitude earthquake was monitored in an open field half a mile from the intersection of Flat Creek Church Road and Simon Trail. The quake occurred at 10:43 am at a depth of approximately 2.6 miles beneath the earth’s surface.
The quake’s epicenter was calculated to be within half a mile of North Buncombe Elementary School, a mile from North Buncombe High School and roughly three and a half miles from downtown Weaverville.
North Buncombe High employee Selena Burrell said, “I was the only one in here that felt it. I was standing up in my office and I was like, ‘was that thunder?’”
Weaverville resident Bill Boughton said, “The funny thing was is that I heard it as much as felt it. It was like a rumble.” He continued, “It sounded almost like a big air-conditioning starting. It kind of went long and I felt a little bit of shaking. It was very subtle. Feels like a big bulldozer driving by.”
NBHS Principal Jack Evans described it, “I did feel it. Funny thing is that we are having so much construction going on here, I thought it was just that. It was ‘boom,’ though, and it was rumbling afterwards.” NBHS Assistant Principal Kim Mason added, “I just thought they were moving stuff when I heard that noise in my office.”
Jupiter Fire Department reportedly felt the quake and received a few calls as to ‘what the boom was.’ Weaverville Police Chief Greg Stephens said that he felt it as well, describing it as a “loud rumble.” The police department has been fielding questions about it since it occurred.
North Buncombe Elementary which was very close to the epicenter reported that they felt two tremors that were roughly 30 minutes apart. Despite being so close, the quake did not otherwise disrupt the school day.
According to the US Geological Survey website, “The largest earthquake in the area (magnitude 5.1) occurred in 1916. Moderately damaging earthquakes strike the inland Carolinas every few decades, and smaller earthquakes are felt about once each year or two.” It goes on to state that, unlike well-known, named, fault systems, like the San Andreas fault in California, North Carolina does not have a well-known fault running underground. “The inland Carolinas region is far from the nearest [tectonic] plate boundaries, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea. The region is laced with known faults but numerous smaller or deeply buried faults remain undetected. Even the known faults are poorly located at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few, if any, earthquakes in the inland Carolinas can be linked to named faults.”
According to the USGS, there have been 13 earthquakes in Western North Carolina, between June of 1980 and Monday, none of which were more than magnitude 4.
For more information about earthquakes, visit <earthquake.usgs.gov>/