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Magnitude 2.9 Earthquake Felt in High Country Sunday; Two to Three Miles From Blowing Rock and Boone

Intensity Map of Aug. 25 earthquake courtesy of U.S.G.S.
Intensity Map of Aug. 25 earthquake courtesy of U.S.G.S.

By Mark Kenna

Aug. 26, 2013. A 2.9 magnitude earthquake struck the High Country at 3:50 p.m., according to a report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The earthquake’s epicenter was 2 miles northeast of Blowing Rock and 3 miles south of Boone.

Blowing Rock Chief of Police Eric Brown said he felt a “light shaking” on Sunday.

“I wondered if it was an earthquake right from the start,” Brown said.

While the earthquake garnered responses on the USGS “Did you feel it?” webpage from residents in Boone, Blowing Rock, Deep Gap, Banner Elk, Vilas, Sugar Grove, Zionville, West Jefferson, Spruce Pine and other areas in and around the High Country, some people like Brad Moretz, general manager of Appalachian Ski Mountain, didn’t feel the rumbling.

“I live up near the top of Ski Mountain. I was here all day but I didn’t feel anything. I was talking with another guy on Golden Ridge Road, and he didn’t feel anything [either],” Moretz said, adding that no damages occurred at the ski resort.

“I would say everybody was fortunate,” Moretz said.

Earthquakes occur on fault lines within the bedrock.  Most of the bedrock underneath the inland Carolinas was created 300 to 500 million years ago as continents collided to form a super continent, for which erected the Appalachian Mountains, according to the USGS.

The earthquake yesterday was reported 5.7 miles beneath the earth’s surface, according to the USGS

The largest earthquake, 5.1 magnitude, in the area occurred in 1916. Earthquakes strike and moderately damage the inland Carolinas every few decades, however smaller ones are felt every one or two years, according to the USGS.

The last earthquake to hit the High Country was 4.3 magnitude in November of last year. 

Did you feel any rumblings?